Dolly's Bonnie lamb is no clone

 

Dolly, the world's first cloned sheep, has successfully given birth, it was announced yesterday. The female lamb, which has been named Bonnie, was born at 4 a.m. on April 13th and staff at Edinburgh's Roslin Institute say both Dolly and lamb are "in good health after a normal delivery".

Mr Graham Bulfield, director of the institute where Dolly was cloned, said yesterday, "We are delighted. Despite Dolly's unusual origins, the birth of her lamb confirms that she is able to breed normally and produce healthy offspring."

Dolly - a Finn Dorset - was born at the Roslin Institute on July 5th, 1996. News of the birth and the scientific breakthrough was announced seven months later. But her offspring is not likely to grow up to be an identical copy - the father was a different breed. The institute said yesterday that Dolly was mated naturally at the end of last year with a Welsh mountain ram.

News last year of Dolly's arrival sent shock waves through the scientific community and prompted much debate on the ethics of cloning.

Dolly's cloning, according to the Roslin Institute, boosts the battle to understand diseases such as cystic fibrosis and emphysema. The ability of clones to produce healthy offspring is important to the commercialisation of the nuclear transfer technique that produced Dolly, the institute said.