Ian Wilmut, Creator Of World’s First Cloned Sheep, Dies: Here’s How He Did It

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Sir Ian Wilmut, one of the creators of Dolly the sheep, the world’s first mammal to be cloned, has died. He was 79. According to The Guardian, Professor Wilmut led a team of scientists at the Roslin Institute at the University of Edinburgh to create Dolly, which was born on July 5, 1996. His work laid the foundation for stem cell research. Before him, the process involved cloning the animal from embryonic cells, but Dolly was created from a culture mammary cell, as per the outlet.”He was a titan of the scientific world,” Prof Sir Peter Mathieson, the principal and vice-chancellor of the University of Edinburgh, was quoted as saying by The Guardian. The expert added that Professor Wilmut’s experiment had “transformed scientific thinking at the time”.He had been working in the field of animal science and cryopreservation since the late 1960s.The process behind creation of Dolly the sheepProfessor Wilmut and his team used mammary gland (DNA) of a six-year-old Finn Dorset sheep and an egg cell taken from a Scottish Blackface sheep and combined them.The researchers then stimulated it with electricity and added chemicals, which helped in rejuvenating the adult DNA into an embryo, the BBC said in a report.The birth of Dolly was considered to be one of the greatest scientific achievements of the 20th century.Fears about human cloningThe breakthrough announced by Professor Wilmut’s team led to concerns across the world that humans will be next to be cloned.Then-US President Bill Clinton had even announced a ban on human cloning experiments. “The technology has the potential to threaten the sacred family bonds at the very core of our ideals and our society,” he said, as per the quote carried by the BBC report.However, Professor Wilmut later told the outlet that the creation of Dolly was for the betterment of humanity. He said it paved the way to find cures for debilitating illnesses.