Cloning is the process of creating a genetically identical copy of an organism. In the case of ‘Dolly’ the sheep, she was the first mammal to be cloned from an adult somatic cell using a technique called somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT).

Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (SCNT)

The process of cloning ‘Dolly’ began with the collection of mammary cells from a Finn Dorset ewe. These cells were then cultured in a laboratory setting. Simultaneously, an unfertilized egg cell was collected from a Scottish Blackface ewe and its nucleus was removed, leaving behind an enucleated egg cell.

Fusion and Development

The mammary cell and the enucleated egg cell were brought together, and through a series of carefully controlled steps, they were fused using electrical pulses. This resulted in the mammary cell’s nucleus being introduced into the enucleated egg cell, effectively creating an embryo.

Implantation and Birth

The embryo was then implanted into the uterus of a surrogate mother, where it developed into a fetus. After a normal gestation period, ‘Dolly’ was born on July 5, 1996, at the Roslin Institute in Scotland.

Significance and Impact

The successful cloning of ‘Dolly’ was a groundbreaking achievement in the field of genetics and biotechnology. It demonstrated that it was possible to reprogram a specialized adult cell to develop into an entire organism, challenging the previously held belief that adult cells were permanently differentiated and could not be used to create new organisms.

Ethical and Scientific Considerations

The cloning of ‘Dolly’ raised numerous ethical and scientific considerations regarding the potential applications of cloning technology, including its use in agriculture, medicine, and conservation efforts.


The cloning of ‘Dolly’ marked a significant milestone in scientific history, showcasing the potential for somatic cell nuclear transfer to produce genetically identical organisms. While ‘Dolly’ lived a relatively short life due to health complications, her legacy continues to influence ongoing research in genetics and reproductive technology.

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