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GEN’s editor in chief, John Sterling, interviews life science academic and biotech industry leaders on important research, technology, and trends. These podcasts will keep you informed with all the important details you need.
It has been more than ten years since the birth of a lamb named Dolly jolted the scientific world. Dolly was the first mammal to be cloned from an adult somatic cell. Ian Wilmut, Ph.D., was the head of the team at the Roslin Institute that carried out the research that led to the arrival of that forever famous sheep.
In this week’s podcast, Dr. Wilmut explains why the birth of Dolly was so significant. He talks about the original scientific impetus for the cloning of Dolly and discusses why many of the scientific benefits that should result from knowledge gained from studying Dolly have yet to be realized. Dr. Wilmut also explores those areas of scientific research that have shown demonstrable advancement as a result of work with Dolly.
Dr. Wilmut offers advice on how scientists should respond to critics who say that the birth of Dolly contained the element of a "Frankenstein factor." He notes that the creation of cloned animals, especially primates, remains a difficult task, and provides some suggestions on what needs to be done to increase the efficiency rate of successful and healthy animal clones.
For anyone working in the biotech or pharmaceutical industries, this is a must listen!
After listening, return to the blog and give your thoughts on the following question:
Somatic cell cloning for disease research has not advanced as far as many had expected post-Dolly. Which aspects of somatic cell cloning technology need to be significantly improved before the scientific benefits of the technique can be fully realized?
Iam Wilmut, Ph.D. is currently one of the leaders of the Queen's Medical Research Institute at the University of Edinburgh. He is best known as the man who played a supervisory role in the team, that in 1996 first cloned a mammal, a Finn Dorset lamb named Dolly in 1997.
In 1971 he received a Ph. D. in animal genetic engineering from Darwin College, University of Cambridge. At Darwin College, Cambridge, Wilmut met researcher Chris Porge who had discovered how to freeze cells in 1949. Wilmut became fascinated with the research. His father had a severe case of diabetes that caused blindness. Wilmut was awarded a Ph.D. in 1971; his subsequent research in Cambridge led to the birth of the first calf from a frozen embryo — "Frosty" — in 1973.
In February 1997, people around the world were shocked to read of the birth of Dolly, a baby lamb cloned from the cells of an adult sheep. For the first time in history, a team of scientists had created a genetic replica of a living creature, not from the cells of a developing embryo, but from those of an adult animal. Ian Wilmut and his team had frozen the activities of the adult cell and returned it to the embryonic state from which an entire animal can develop. This startling accomplishment ignited a firestorm of controversy as philosophers, religious leaders and national governments weighed in to express a widespread fear that the cloning of human beings would not be far behind. Since the detonation of the first atomic bomb, no scientific breakthrough has provoked more intense ethical debate than that engendered by the birth of Dolly.