INSIDE Chico State
0 March 13, 2003
Volume 33 Number 12
  A publication for the faculty, staff, administrators, and friends of California State University, Chico
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Cynthia Daley Comments on
Dolly’s Death

A recent photo of Martie

A recent photo of Martie

Dolly the sheep, the first cloned mammal, died on Feb. 14, six years after her birth. She was given a lethal injection after veterinarians discovered she was suffering from a progressive lung disease.

Cynthia Daley, Agriculture, wrote the following commentary in response to a request from Inside Chico State. Daley headed a local project that saw the implanting of cloned embryos into donor cows that resulted in the birth of three calves on March 9, 2001. Daley also reports on Martie, the only survivor.


It seems Dolly contracted pneumonia, along with a couple of her pen mates. This by itself is not unusual; Dolly would eventually die, as is the fate of all living organisms. Those of us with livestock backgrounds realize that a ewe dying at age six is not at all unusual. Some die from lambing, some contract viruses or bacterial infections that cannot be treated, some roll over into irrigation ditches and drown (really, they do).

From the information we have about Dolly’s death, we cannot assume that her death was a result of her origin—pneumonia is common. Had she been more susceptible because of her cloning origins, she most likely would have succumbed much earlier in her life. Of course, it would have been much more interesting had all her pen mates died of pneumonia and she had been spared; then we might have something to report. The fact that she lived six years, gave birth, and behaved much like a noncloned sheep can be viewed as positive for the cloning efforts in livestock.

Martie and new pen mates. Pick the clone!

Martie and new pen mates. Pick the clone!

At this stage, Martie is behaving like a cow. I plan to photograph her after calving this spring and will share that information with you as I collect it.

We have obtained some equipment through grants to begin the process of producing bovine clones in my laboratory. We plan to experiment with the cloning process itself first, collecting cells for the primary culture, followed by electro fusion to determine blastocyst formation rates, then onto gene expression work where we can track differences in early gene expression between NT embryos and in-vivo embryos. At this time, we have no plans to implant these embryos, although we may.

Cindy Daley

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