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Biotech Science

Dolly the Sheep Alive Again 233

SpeZek writes "Dolly the sheep has been reborn. Four clones have been made by the scientist behind the original research. The quads, which have been nicknamed 'the Dollies,' are exact genetic copies of their predecessor, who was put down seven years ago. The latest experiments were partly carried out to check if improvements to the technique cut the risk of problems in and out of the womb. Named after country and western singer Dolly Parton, Dolly was created from a cell taken from a mammary gland. The rest of the sample of tissue has lain in a freezer since, until it was defrosted to make the Dollies."
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Dolly the Sheep Alive Again

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  • by tomhudson ( 43916 ) <barbara@hudson.barbara-hudson@com> on Wednesday December 01, 2010 @11:06PM (#34413370) Journal
    Bahhhh, Humbug.

    Pass the mint jelly :-)

  • Dolly Parton (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Dan East ( 318230 )

    Okay, is my mind totally in the gutter, or is there a significance to the mammary gland / Dolly Parton link?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 01, 2010 @11:11PM (#34413416)

    I'm curious to know if Dolly will be the new teacup (used to test rendering algorithms) or Lenna (for image processing).

    Will we be cloning the same sheep over and over again as a common reference?

  • by straponego ( 521991 ) on Wednesday December 01, 2010 @11:17PM (#34413458)
  • Not alive again (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Culture20 ( 968837 ) on Wednesday December 01, 2010 @11:18PM (#34413462)
    Stupid journalists and movie makers keep thinking cloning something makes a true copy. These are genetic progeny; Dolly's sisters, not Dolly.
    • I would call them Dolly's daughters, since they were cloned off of Dolly, not the original sheep. This is consistent with my understanding of the nomenclature used for species that reproduce asexually. They're each other's sisters, and the original sheep's granddaughters.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by afidel ( 530433 )
        No, they are being cloned from the same sample that Dolly was cloned from. Since the DNA won't be exactly the same as the cell that was used to create Dolly I would say sisters is the most appropriate, unless they used DNA polymerase on the original cell and these are being created from that same cell's mass copied DNA in which case they are simply identical clones of the Dolly line =)
      • I think it's more accurate to call them her "twins." That's the natural way to get genetically identical individuals in a sexually reproducing species.
    • Re:Not alive again (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Atmanman ( 1651259 ) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @01:32AM (#34414146)
      Its clear they aren't sisters, daughters or twins. Maybe we need a new word for what they are. Oh wait, we do... they're called CLONES.
    • The scientists themselves aren't helping, by naming the new sheep "Dolly" as well.

      There are plenty of non-stupid reasons to do animal cloning, and human cloning has the potential to help millions of infertile couples. Someday cloning *will* begin to leave the laboratory, and when it does, we need to make sure the public has a rational understanding of what a clone is and is not. Otherwise, the horrific science fiction prophecies will fulfill themselves.

  • by initialE ( 758110 ) on Wednesday December 01, 2010 @11:19PM (#34413468)

    Duncan Idaho...

  • by QuantumBeep ( 748940 ) on Wednesday December 01, 2010 @11:28PM (#34413504)

    Now we know the identity of the Lost Cylon.

  • For years (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Colourspace ( 563895 ) on Wednesday December 01, 2010 @11:33PM (#34413536)
    They've been doing this for years in Medicine. Just ask Henrietta Lacks.
    • Little did she know, when she went into the hospital, that she would be going out the back door and an entire new species of pluripotent mono-cellular eukaryotes would be leaving out the front...
  • by Myji Humoz ( 1535565 ) on Wednesday December 01, 2010 @11:34PM (#34413540)
    From the article, the original Dolly was put down after about 6 years due to all kinds of medical conditions (infections, arthritis, etc). However, these four sheep are 3.5 years old, and are apparently in perfect health. A major argument against the use of cloned animals in animal husbandry (either cloning particularly tasty animals or using clones to breed) is that cloned animals end up in constant agony due to their origin.

    Since these cloned animals appear just as comfortable and pain free as your "run of the mill" farm animal, it seems as if cloned animals can be just as humane to farm as normal animals. In fact, since the meat yield from each animal is much higher (by definition of selective cloning as the pinnacle of selective breeding), I would argue that using more cloned animals would reduce the ecological impact of the meat industry.

    Ye average American Joe might not want to eat cloned meat, but clones are already breeding like mad to produce more productive offspring. Perhaps this new longitudinal study will give more insights on the ethics and health impacts of cloned meat.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 01, 2010 @11:49PM (#34413610)

      And by breeding hundreds, thousands or even tens of thousands of Dollys, you make a population that will collapse much faster when that virus or bacteria mutation comes along that has a liking for the Dolly host.

    • I wouldn't mind eating beef from a cloned animal if I were to be informed accordingly. Matters become rather complicated when it comes to burgers and other processed meats where I understand such meats might be made of more than 100 animals. Scary!

    • by daemonc ( 145175 )

      I had never heard that argument, but even if it were true it would still be absurd. Compared to the horribly unsanitary conditions that exist on most factory farms, and the painful end in store for them at the slaughter house, I'd think a little arthritis would be the least of the animals' worries.

      But all that aside, this is still not the "major con" to cloning. The big one that comes to mind is the susceptibility to disease due to lack of genetic diversity. All it takes is one mutation in some common di

      • by afidel ( 530433 )
        The big one that comes to mind is the susceptibility to disease due to lack of genetic diversity. All it takes is one mutation in some common disease, and not only is your herd / crop wiped out, but so is everyone's who bought the same clones.

        Welcome to modern farming, witness the Cavendish banana, Haas avocado, Russet potato, Heavea rubber tree, and countless other varieties that are produced well in excess of 50% of worldwide consumption in their category. It's here today with cloning.
      • by Myji Humoz ( 1535565 ) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @12:39AM (#34413886)
        The article says that: "Animal welfare campaigners say that cloned animals and their surrogate mothers still suffer immensely."

        The immune system argument is indeed the primary flaw of mass cloning, but our understanding of the role of genetics in forming an immune system is weak at best. However, we do know that immune systems aren't deterministic; genetic makeup X + environment Y doesn't always yield protection Z. As you said, the unsanitary conditions in factory farms induce tremendous suffering in the animals, but it also leads to a serious suppression of natural immune function. They are pretty much saturated in antibiotics from birth to slaughter to suppress infections; their natural immune system are essentially useless in those conditions. I'm purely speculating here, but what if a particular animal or animal line had an immune system that retained most of its function under terrible conditions? What if a particular animal displayed tremendous variability in initial antibody seeding?

        It's tempting to think of animals as computer systems, where a single computer virus can easy take over identical systems with nearly identical ease. However, the immune system just doesn't work like that. To use a crude and somewhat misleading example, factory farms are like networks of computers running Windows XP with no service patch, no firewall, and no built in antivirus. However, every 4 hours, a godlike remote antivirus scan is run, and purges each system. If a virus or a bacterial strain is powerful enough to kill a line of Dollies, it's most likely strong enough to kill a line of sheep on the constant verge of death. Throw in antibiotic overuse, and it seems unlikely that there's a statistically significant risk increase between a factory full of Dollies and a factory full of randoms.
    • by c0lo ( 1497653 )

      Ye average American Joe might not want to eat cloned meat, but clones are already breeding like mad to produce more productive offspring.

      Clones breeding like mad??? You know something that we don't? 'cause TFA mentions "surrogate mothers".
      To reach the breeding like mad level, I imagine one would need a "cloning vat" or something.

      For the time being, the "economic efficiency" of cloning can't be better than by natural breeding, perhaps the "selectivity of the breeding" might have been improved – assuming that the clones really grow without other genetic troubles because of the process
      TFA "The professor, who plans to publish details abo

    • by quenda ( 644621 )

      Ye average American Joe might not want to eat cloned meat,

      He eats cloned plants, e.g. bananas. What's the difference?

    • it seems as if cloned animals can be just as humane to farm as normal animals.

      Ha, I see what you did there! [/sarcasm]

  • Piracy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Degro ( 989442 ) on Wednesday December 01, 2010 @11:45PM (#34413592)
    So how long until the first genetic piracy article on Slashdot?
  • by fl_litig8r ( 904972 ) on Wednesday December 01, 2010 @11:56PM (#34413638)
    Dolly Idaho.
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Wednesday December 01, 2010 @11:59PM (#34413660) Journal
    Abduhl Al-Hazred, in his Necronomicon wrote:

    "That is not dead which can eternal lie,
    And with strange aeons even death may die."
  • by hessian ( 467078 ) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @12:11AM (#34413744) Homepage Journal

    Now that is a Texas-size sexual fantasy!

  • Reagan (Score:5, Funny)

    by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @12:31AM (#34413848) Journal

    The GOP is hoping to clone Ronald Reagan before the 2012 election, being that they are short real candidates.

    • Someone mod this "funny because it's true". :D

      (At least, true at the presidential level. We're leveling Congress, though.)

    • Do you suppose this would let you get around term limits? What if it was just Raygun's head in a jar, with a robot body?
  • them Dolly Sisters.

  • Unless they used eggs from the same host animal as before, they are unlikely to be genetically identical since the mitochondrial DNA will be different.

    The mitochondrial DNA problem is one reason why embryonic stem cells produced via cloning are still rejected by the animal in which it is implanted.

  • They need to see how far they can push cloning, I propose they keep cloning this sheep and see how far they can take the cloning before they end up with nothing by Eldritch Abominations....

  • The result was a Dolly Llama
  • Bit of a war monger that one. Keep it away from Cardassians (especially Damaaaaaaaaaaaar)

    Don't see the fuss myself, they all look the same to me.

  • There were more clones, but the scientist could never finish counting them - they kept falling asleep.

    Rather clone asses (not: arses) next time.

  • by Remus Shepherd ( 32833 ) <> on Thursday December 02, 2010 @11:01AM (#34417116) Homepage

    Mary had a little lamb, its fleece was slightly grey,
    It didn't have a father, just some borrowed DNA.
    It sort of had a mother, though the ovum was on loan,
    It was not so much a lambkin, as a little lamby clone.

    And soon it had a fellow clone, and soon it had some more,
    They followed her to school one day, all cramming through the door.
    It made the children laugh and sing, the teachers found it droll,
    There were too many lamby clones, for Mary to control.

    No other could control the sheep; their programs didn't vary,
    So the scientists resolved it all by simply cloning Mary.
    But now they feel quite sheepish, those scientists unwary,
    One problem solved! But what to do, with Mary, Mary, Mary...

    -- by Anonymous (it's not mine; the writer's name is forgotten.)

"This is lemma 1.1. We start a new chapter so the numbers all go back to one." -- Prof. Seager, C&O 351