Arthritis Didn't Afflict Famed Clone Sheep, Experts Say

Arthritis Didn't Afflict Famed Clone Sheep, Experts Say

Dolly the sheep did not have early onset osteoarthritis after all, according to new research.

Experts at the University of Glasgow and the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom said their findings dispel original concerns about the nature and extent of osteoarthritis in Dolly, the first animal to be cloned from adult cells.

In 2003, reports suggested that Dolly was suffering from osteoarthritis at the age of 5½, leading to speculation about the risk of early onset diseases in cloned animals. However, no formal, thorough investigation of osteoarthritis in Dolly was done until now.

The research team did a radiographic assessment of Dolly's skeleton, which is stored in the National Museums Scotland in Edinburgh. The skeleton showed no signs of abnormal osteoarthritis, according to the report.

The results show "that the original concerns that cloning had caused early onset osteoarthritis in Dolly were unfounded," Sandra Corr, a professor of small animal orthopedic surgery at Glasgow University, said in a University of Nottingham news release.

The report was published Nov. 23 in the online journal Scientific Reports.

According to the Arthritis Foundation, osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease, often described as "wear and tear" arthritis. It's the most common chronic condition of the joints, and occurs when the cartilage or cushion between joints breaks down, leading to pain, stiffness and swelling.

More information

The Genetic Science Learning Center has more on cloning.


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