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Dolly the Sheep 20th Anniversary Celebration

Tuesday 5th July 2016 marked the 20th anniversary of the birth of Dolly the Sheep, which we celebrated at The Original Rosslyn Inn with Roslin Institute staff past and present, members of the local community and special guests from the original Dolly research team.

Group photo with cardboard Dolly

The event was part of year-long Dolly@20 celebrations commemorating the anniversary of Dolly and the impact that her creation has had on science and society.

As well as a chance to meet our researchers and the Dolly team over tea and locally made Dolly cupcakes, younger visitors had a go at fun craft activities that explained some of the science behind cloning, DNA and stem cells. Professor David Hume, current Director of The Roslin Institute, welcomed guests to the event and recalled his encounter with a Dolly-savvy Brisbane taxi driver en route to his new job at Roslin, demonstrating Dolly’s worldwide fame. Professor Sir Ian Wilmut, leader of the team that created Dolly, then did us the honour of cutting our specially-commissioned and extremely lifelike Dolly the Sheep cake, which tasted as impressive as it looked!

Dolly cake

The event also saw the launch of Dolly Memories, a project that aims to capture people’s memories of Dolly and their reactions to her creation. Current and past Roslin Institute staff and members of the public were encouraged to take a Dolly Memories postcard and return it to us with their recollections of Dolly.

The memories that we collect will be displayed online and in an exhibition as part of the Midlothian Science Festival in October and you can submit your memories of the time that Dolly was born via the Dolly@20 website:

We would like to thank everyone who attended the event and the staff from The Roslin Institute and the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Edinburgh who helped out on the day.

More about Dolly

Dolly was born at the Roslin Institute on 5th July 1996, and was the first mammal to be cloned from an adult cell. Scientists used a technique called Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer to clone a cell taken from the udder of an adult sheep to create Dolly, proving that specialised adult cells can give rise to a fully formed animal. This built on previous research into cloning at The Roslin Institute and paved the way for the research that created induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) for use in stem cell research and regenerative medicine.

As well as revolutionising science, Dolly also captured the hearts and minds of the public. Dolly was announced to the world in 1997, the year after her birth, to coincide with the publication of the Dolly team’s research paper in the journal Nature. Dolly became part of a media frenzy and stimulated huge public interest in science and its potential applications that has outlasted her lifetime.

From 8 July Dolly will be back on display at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, in their newly-opened Science and Technology galleries.

For more information about Dolly the Sheep and our other Dolly@20 events, visit

Staff performing activities with kids