Left: Dolly the sheep, pictured here with her first lamb Bonnie, became the world's first cloned mammal in 1996. Image: Roslin Institute, Edinburgh.
From next month, the public will have exclusive access to one of the world's most famous animals.
Born in 1996, Dolly was no ordinary sheep; the first mammal cloned from an adult cell was put down earlier this year and is currently being prepared for display at Scotland's Royal Museum.
Donated by the Roslin Institute in Midlothian, where she was born, Dolly will form part of the museum's Science Zone display, coinciding with events planned for Edinburgh's International Science Festival.
Right: cloning involves the removal of a nucleus from an egg cell, replacing it with a nucleus from a normal adult cell. Image: Roslin Institute, Edinburgh.
A spokesperson at the Institute explained to the 24 Hour Museum how Dolly had already captured the public imagination and was donated to the museum “in response to a request a long time ago, shortly after she was born.”
“We had been approached by them originally, but we'd already decided that she ought to stay in Scotland. We thought it was most appropriate.”
The decision to euthanase Dolly was taken in February this year after veterinary examination revealed she had a progressive lung disease. A post-mortem found that a virus induced tumour was to blame, while there was no suggestion that cloning had been a factor in the six-year-old's contracting of the disease.
Dr Harry Griffin, Acting Director at the Roslin Institute said at the time: “Sheep can live to 11 or 12 years of age and lung infections are common in older sheep, particularly those housed inside.”
Left: cloned from the udder cell of a six-year-old adult ewe, Dolly was named after American country singer, Dolly Parton. Image: Roslin Institute, Edinburgh.
Dolly will now become part of the permanent collection at the Royal Museum, which already has one of her fleeces on show.
She will also join her cloned 'cousin', Morag, one of a set of Welsh mountain ewe twins cloned from cells grown in culture at Roslin in 1995 and donated to the museum three years ago.
It is also fitting that Dolly's life should be celebrated during 2003, the year that marks the fiftieth anniversary of the discovery of DNA.