Dolly the Sheep, the first mammal successfully cloned from an adult cell, lived only six years. But scientists report taking the same tissue samples used to clone Dolly to produce four exact genetic duplicates.
"Dolly is alive and well," Nottingham University Professor Keith Campbell, who keeps the Dollies as pets, told the Daily Mail. "Genetically these are Dolly."When researchers reported having cloned a sheep in July 1996, only Dolly survived from the 29 embryos produced from 277 eggs. This time the Daily Mail reports that just five embryos were needed to create each of the Dollies.
The latest experiments, which actually took place three-and-a-half years ago, became public knowledge after Campbell mentioned them during a lecture.
Dolly was put down in Feb. 2003 because she suffered from lung disease and arthritis. But so far, the new Dolly quartet are doing well, according to Campbell.
"They have got the life of Reilly," he said. "They potter around and get fed."