From Dolly to endangered species: A history of cloning

The first clone was long before Dolly the sheep was born in 1996.

Dolly the sheep is certainly the most famous clone, but she wasn’t the first and she certainly won’t be the last. Here’s the history of cloning so far.

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1952

Robert Briggs and Thomas King in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania clone frogs (Rana pipiens) using cells from tadpoles and adult intestine. They show that the DNA inside specialised cells can direct embryonic development.

1996

Dolly the sheep © Alamy
Dolly the sheep © Alamy

Scotland’s Roslin Institute announces the birth of Dolly the sheep, the first mammal to be cloned from an adult cell.

1998

Japanese scientists clone eight calves using adult cells collected from abattoir entrails, raising speculation that high-end beef cattle could be cloned for the quality of their meat.

2002

The world’s first cloned cat, CC (short for Copy Cat) confounds people because her coat is a different colour to the original’s. The effect is caused by environmental differences in the surrogate’s womb.

2003

Spanish scientists use frozen cells from the world’s last Pyrenean ibex, taken before she died, to create a clone. It dies soon after birth.

2003

Prometea © Getty Images
Prometea © Getty Images

Prometea, the first cloned horse, is born. Commercial equine cloning follows and clones are used in sports, such as polo and rodeo.

2004

Genetic Savings & Clone becomes one of the first companies to offer commercial pet cloning, despite the fact that dogs have yet to be cloned.

2005

Snuppy © Getty Images
Snuppy © Getty Images

The first dog is cloned – an Afghan called Snuppy (for Seoul National University puppy, where it was made).

2009

Seven clones of an elite drug-detection dog are produced in South Korea. One breaks its leg, but the others complete their training successfully and go off to work.

2015

A Japanese cancer-detection dog is cloned. It excels at sniffing out colorectal cancers, just like the original.

2018

Cloned monkeys © Getty Images
Cloned monkeys © Getty Images

Monkeys are cloned. It’s hoped primate cloning will offer insights into human diseases, such as Alzheimer’s.

2020

Przewalski's Foal © Scott Stine
Przewalski’s Foal © Scott Stine

A newly born clone of the endangered Przewalski’s horse raises hopes that cloning could be used in conservation.

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