Dolly, cloned sheep, could soon become a mother
EDINBURGH, Scotland (AP)

The Ph.D.s have decided to leave it to the birds and the bees -- or make that the rams and the ewes. Dolly the cloned sheep is to become a mother next year. But there'll be no cloning. Not even artificial insemination.

Staff at Edinburgh's Roslin Institute, where researchers for the first time cloned a mammal from the cell of another adult mammal, said Monday that Dolly will be bred with a ram early next year to determine whether she's fertile and can produce healthy lambs.

"It will probably be a matter of putting them out in a field and letting them get on with it," said Professor Graeme Bulfield, the institute's director.

The breeding will determine whether Dolly's lambs would be affected by her unusual conception. Her offspring would not be clones and would be genetically different from her, Bulfield said.

Bulfield said healthy lambs would mean that the cloning process had produced a fully healthy, fertile sheep, which would be valuable knowledge for PPL Therapeutics, the Scottish biotechnology company formed to market the center's work.

Scientists at the institute provoked worldwide concern in February about the potential for cloning humans when they announced they had created Dolly using cells from another sheep's udder.

The institute already has proven that cloned animals can reproduce. Megan and Morag, sheep conceived through a different cloning process, have lambs of their own.

Dolly, now a year old, lives a quiet life at the Roslin Institute.

But she has some treats. "She has got very spoiled -- every time press photographers come, she is fed nuts," said Bulfield. "She is a Finn Dorset, a pretty meaty breed anyway, so she is looking quite chunky, although she is not overweight."




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