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Healthy Dolly the sheep clones created

Four healthy genetically identical replicas of Dolly the sheep – the first mammal to be cloned from an adult breast cell – have been created. Skip related content

Professor Keith Campbell, the scientist behind the original research of the world’s most famous sheep, has created the quads, named ‘The Dollies’.

It has been reported that all the duplicates are currently alive and well, after they were reborn from Dolly’s embryos back in 2006.

Their existence only came to light earlier this month, when their creator mentioned the latest research during a European Parliament debate over cloning and animal welfare.

The Dolly clones are currently being raised on Nottingham University land, and are being used by scientists to carry out further research into the longevity of cloned animals, as well as their susceptibility to disease.

Professor Campbell, who cloned the sheep with the same genetic material used to make Dolly, said: “Dolly is alive and well. Genetically these are Dolly.”

He also stated that the sheep have a good life, and that there were no early signs of ill-health.

He added: “We are not doing anything to them, they have no health concerns, and they show none of the signs of developing the arthritis that Dolly had.”

The original Dolly, who was born at the Roslin Institute near Edinburgh in 1996, created controversy around the world.

Although Dolly marked a huge scientific breakthrough, cloning critics warned that the technology brought with it a high risk of miscarriage and still-birth – and for those that did survive, a life plagued by health problems and premature death.

Despite her breed having an average life expectancy of 12 years, the original Dolly had to be put down in 2003 at just six-years-old, after suffering from lung disease and premature arthritis.