Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Leap Frogging Sheep
24 October 2012

Leap Frogging Sheep

Cloning hit the big screen with Jurassic Park’s rampaging dinosaurs. In fact it had already been achieved on their amphibian cousins thirty years earlier. In 1962, recent Nobel prize winner John Gurdon cloned a tadpole by replacing the DNA of an unfertilised frog egg with that of an adult frog’s gut cell. Decades later scientists, including the late Keith Campbell, applying the same principle cloned the first sheep. A sheep breast cell provided the adult DNA and that’s how she got the name Dolly – after busty country singer Dolly Parton. This year, Peng Peng the first genetically modified sheep, was cloned. Peng Peng was tweaked to produce more unsaturated fats, potentially producing healthier meat. Cloning technology continues to develop, but Jurassic Park is likely to remain fictional. Recent findings show even the best-kept DNA would only last about seven million years, leaving 65-million-year-old dinosaur DNA well past its expiry date.

Written by Lux Fatimathas

  • Image originally published under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC 2.0); Courtesy of Jon Sullivan

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