20 years on, the impact of Dolly’s birth can still be seen in the cutting-edge science of today.
Find out about the research that led to Dolly and the work that her birth inspired with our research roundups – plain English summaries of key research papers.
After Dolly – Stem cell research
Following the success of his cloning research at The Roslin Institute, Prof Ian Wilmut began to focus on using cloning to make stem cells which could be used in regenerative medicine. He moved to the University of Edinburgh in 2005 to continue this work on stem cells, becoming the first Director of the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine the following year.
Dolly’s birth proved that scientists could turn back the clock on a fully developed adult cell to make it behave like a cell from a newly fertilised embryo and this encouraged researchers in Edinburgh and across the world to investigate other techniques to reprogram adult cells, ultimately leading to the discovery of induced Pluripotent Stem (iPS) cells.
For more information on iPS cells and other stem cell research at The University of Edinburgh and beyond, visit the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine website.
After Dolly at The Roslin Institute
Dolly was part of a pioneering research project that aimed to develop better ways of creating genetically engineered, or transgenic, livestock that produced useful proteins in their milk. A modified version of the cloning process that created Dolly was used the next year to create Polly and her siblings, sheep that produced human blood clotting factor IX in their milk.
These transgenic sheep were never commercialised, but scientists at The Roslin Institute have continued to create genetically engineered animals in a wide range of projects.
Researchers at The Roslin Institute are working to create genetically engineered, disease-resistant chickens and pigs to combat the spread of viruses that cause bird flu and African swine fever. They are also developing techniques to produce therapeutic proteins in chicken eggs.
Genetically modified animals can also be used for fundamental research, to study how animals develop and function. For example, our scientists have created transgenic animals that produce fluorescent proteins in some of their immune cells, to help us to understand the immune systems of range of species so that we can develop improved vaccines and treatments for disease.
Genetic engineering techniques are extremely useful tools for research and could lead to significant improvements in animal health and welfare and livestock productivity. We actively engage with the public, stakeholders and policy-makers to discuss the current and potential uses of these techniques and we would like to hear your thoughts.
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