Dolly goes under the microscope

Prof Sir Ian Wilmut alongside Dolly the sheep. Picture by Jane Barlow
Prof Sir Ian Wilmut alongside Dolly the sheep. Picture by Jane Barlow

Dolly the sheep is taking centre stage in an exhibition charting a century of genetics research in and around Edinburgh.

The world’s most famous sheep, which was created in Midlothian, is on display alongside rare books, archive documents, pictures, sound and film clips from Edinburgh University’s Special Collections.

Also on show is a microscope from the Roslin Institute that was used to create the cloned embryo which led to Dolly’s birth.

The “Towards Dolly” exhibition celebrates Edinburgh’s contributions to the field of genetic science, from animal breeding research in the early 1900s, to the cutting-edge stem cell techniques employed today.

Dolly the sheep appears in the exhibition on exclusive loan from National Museums Scotland.

As the first animal to be cloned from an adult cell, her birth proved that it is possible to take cells from anywhere in the body and make them behave like a newly-fertilised egg. The discovery paved the way for the field of regenerative medicine.

Curator Clare Button said: “Dolly is the most famous chapter in Edinburgh’s long genetics history. This exhibition tells the wider story of the many pioneering discoveries which have taken place here, taking our visitors ‘towards Dolly’ and beyond.”

“Towards Dolly: A Century of Animal Genetics in Edinburgh” runs until October 31 at the university’s Main Library Exhibition Gallery.