Dolly, the cloned sheep, has reproduced - the old-fashioned way, scientists said Thursday.
Dolly's lamb, a healthy female named Bonnie, was born April 13 in a normal delivery, according to the Roslin Institute, where Dolly was cloned. It said both she and the lamb were in good health."We are delighted," said Graham Bulfield, the institute's director. "Despite Dolly's unusual origins, the birth of her lamb confirms that she is able to breed normally and produce healthy offspring."
In a history-making announcement in February last year, the institute said it had cloned Dolly from the cell of another sheep's udder.
Dolly, a Finn Dorset sheep, was born at the institute on July 5, 1996, but it was seven months before the institute announced the news.
Dolly was mated naturally with a Welsh mountain ram and was kept in partial quarantine since becoming pregnant for fear of a miscarriage, the institute said.
The institute was keen for Dolly to give birth to prove she is a fully healthy, fertile sheep. A healthy lamb would also help counter fears that Dolly may be prone to premature aging and other age-related disorders as a result of being cloned from the udder cell of a 6-year-old adult.
She was named after Dolly Parton, the curvaceous country-and-Western singer. The institute already has proven that cloned animals can reproduce: Megan and Morag, sheep conceived through a different cloning process, have lambs of their own.