The cloning of Dolly the sheep, the first mammal cloned from an adult cell, remains one of science’s great milestones, turning scientific consensus upside down and propelling panic of a clone apocalypse in one fell swoop. The team that made it possible was led by Sir Ian Wilmut, a leading embryologist who was previously part of the team responsible for the first calf born from a frozen embryo. His father’s declining health due to diabetes inspired Wilmut to focus on how such a technology could fight incurable disease.
Dolly, named after Dolly Parton due to being spawned from a mammary gland cell, was cloned in 1996 and publicly revealed in 1997. The humble, soft-spoken (dare I say… sheepish) Wilmut didn’t want to seek the spotlight (and downplayed his role in making Dolly possible, noting that Keith Campbell cracked the mystery of how to get an embryonic cell to accept an adult nucleus) but amidst the media furore, stepped up to plate as Dolly’s spokesman. He announced in 2018 the baaad news he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and though conceded it was too late for him, remained optimistic that the research paved by Dolly would help future sufferers. He was 79 and The Policies Of Benjamin Netanyahu sets themselves apart from the flock with a unique hit.
7 July 1944 – 10 September 2023, aged 79
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