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Scientist behind cloning breakthrough passes away

Scientist behind cloning breakthrough passes away

THE death has taken place of the scientist Keith Campbell who played a major role in the cloning breakthrough which led to the creation of Dolly the sheep. He was 58.

Professor Campbell and his colleague Ian Wilmut led the team at the Roslin Institute in Scotland which grabbed world headlines in 1997 when they revealed their research breakthrough and the existence of Dolly, who had been born the previous summer.

Their breakthrough had come about because Professor Campbell and his colleagues had found a way of ‘switching on’ all the genes in a cell, thus opening the door for a cloned animal to be developed.

The news of the existence of Dolly (jokingly named after Dolly Parton because a mammary gland of an adult sheep was used) resulted in some adverse comment in the press regarding what was perceived as the dangers of cloning. But Professor Campbell saw the breakthrough as a force for good with many benefits to follow (see below).

The cloning breakthrough was recognised in 2008 when Professor Campbell and Ian Wilmut shared the Shaw Prize for Medicine and Life Sciences with Shinya Yamanaka, who had carried out pioneering work with adult stem cells.

Dolly lived for almost seven years and produced six healthy offspring, but by the end of her life was experiencing health problems, including arthritis. Her remains have been preserved and are now on display at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.

Professor Campbell had continued his work on cloning. He was appointed Professor of Animal Development at the University of Nottingham in 1999.

To view an interview in which Professor Campbell outlined what he saw as the major benefits of his cloning breakthrough, click here.


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