20 years of Dolly the Sheep
People are being invited to share their memories of Dolly the Sheep as part of celebrations to mark the twentieth anniversary of her birth.
Dolly was the first animal to be cloned from an adult cell, capturing imaginations across the world.
Members of the public – including scientists involved in Dolly’s creation – are being asked to share their reflections on the world’s most famous sheep.
The project aims to record people’s ongoing hopes for what the research might achieve as well as their personal memories of Dolly.
Dolly’s birth turned scientific thinking at the time on its head. She proved that cells from anywhere in the body could be made to behave like a newly fertilised egg – something that scientists previously thought was impossible.
When Dolly was born we were excited to see that she had a white face because that meant that the experiment had worked. She was cloned from a Finn Dorset which has a white face but both the egg and surrogate mother were Scottish Black-face ewes.
The breakthrough paved the way for researchers to develop methods of producing stem cells from adult cells, offering hope of therapies for a wide-range of diseases.
When Dolly was born we knew that we had achieved something extraordinary. But I don’t think any of us would have predicted the level of public interest in our research, or that people would still be enthralled by Dolly and her legacy twenty years later.
Dolly was produced at The Roslin Institute in Midlothian – now part of the University of Edinburgh. The goal of the research was to develop methods of introducing genetic changes into animals.
Twenty years later, researchers at Roslin are building on Dolly’s legacy by using the latest gene-editing technologies to alter animals’ DNA. Their aim is to improve the health and welfare of farmed animals.
One of the vets who cared for Dolly during her life said that Dolly was more like a dog than a sheep in many ways.
She would come when you called her name. Mostly because she knew there might be a treat involved. We had to put her on a diet at one point as she had so many visitors, she was becoming quite fat.
Share your memory
Anyone can submit their memory of Dolly by visiting the Dolly at 20 website.
I was at a wedding in the Highlands when Dolly was born and received the news by fax. We were supposed to keep the news quiet until the study was published but I couldn’t help myself. We had an extra celebration that night.
Dolly the Sheep will be returning to display from Friday 8 July at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. She will be one of 3000 objects being unveiled in ten new galleries devoted to science, technology, decorative art, design and fashion.