Dolly: From the Test Tube to the Museum

The Star Wars character of Jabba the Hutt and Dolly the Sheep have much in common: both were man-made creations, both were monsters. However, while Jabba the Hutt was simply a fictitious moving model, Dolly the Sheep was a living being, which suffered throughout its life because it was never anything more than a scientific experiment.

Dolly the Sheep was the first cloned animal, born in 1996 after successful a cloning project reached its conclusion in the Rolin Institute in Scotland, but publicised only the year later after a process of debates as to whether the project should be made public.

Hitherto, the right to concede life was monopolised by the realm of God. Here, in this animal, was the affirmation that Humankind could control the processes which create life. Or not.

Dolly the Sheep was six years old when she was put to sleep by a veterinary surgeon, using a lethal injection after she had developed a fatal respiratory problem. She will now be dissected in a laboratory, then sewn up and stuffed, to serve as a display piece in the National Museum of Scotland, in Edinburgh, alongside Morag, another cloned sheep which died of respiratory failure.

Both animals were experiments. One questions whether the same label can be attached to the cloned human babies that are appearing in different parts of the globe.