Dolly the Sheep
One of the most famous genetic research events was the birth of Dolly the Sheep, created at the Roslin Institute in Scotland, July 5,1996. Using an adult somatic cell, researchers were able to clone a sheep, marking the first time an advanced mammal was created in the lab. Scientists extracted the DNA from an unfertilized egg and replaced it with the DNA from a donor sheep's mammary gland. The cell was then placed in the uterus of a female sheep and birthed normally.
A year later, Roslin cloned two more sheep named Polly and Molly. Like Dolly, Polly and Molly were cloned from somatic cells. However, the DNA in these two examples was altered using genetic materials from other species. Called recombinant DNA technology, the researchers introduced the human blood clotting factor IX into the sheep genome. The goal was to demonstrate the ability to produce proteins that could have both pharmacological and therapeutic advantages to humans.
In 2007, a team at the Roslin Institute made another breakthrough in genetics. This involved the creation of genetically modified chickens that could lay eggs containing specialized proteins in the egg whites. These proteins were an antibody called miR24 and had the potential to treat a type of skin cancer known as malignant melanoma. This demonstrated the ability of chickens to act as factories for producing a number of anti-viral and disease-fighting treatments.
Above: Dolly the Sheep. (Supplied by Tim Vickers at Wikimedia Commons; Public Domain; http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/dc/Dollyscotland_(crop).jpg)