Dolly the sheep’s fleece donated for display at national museum

The fleece has been donated to the national collections by Dr William A Ritchie, an embryologist on the team that created Dolly.

Dolly the sheep’s fleece donated for display at national museum PA Media

A fleece from Dolly the sheep, the world’s first mammal cloned from an adult cell, has been acquired by National Museums Scotland.

The fleece has been donated to the national collections by Dr William A Ritchie, an embryologist on the team that created Dolly – who was named after singer Dolly Parton.

Dolly the sheep was born in 1996 at the Roslin Institute just outside Edinburgh, where she spent her entire life, gave birth to six healthy lambs and died in 2003 aged six.

Her coat of wool has been gifted to National Museums Scotland along with laboratory equipment, including sharpened glass pipettes, a microscope and an electrical fusion machine.

The tools were crucial to the success of the the Roslin Institute’s groundbreaking cloning procedure which captured the public imagination and transformed scientific understanding of biology and medicine.

The fleece and tools join a range of material on display at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh associated with Dolly, including her preserved body, death mask and fellow preserved cloned sheep Morag and Megan.

Preserved on a custom-built fibre glass frame, Dolly has been on display at the museum for nearly 20 years and remains one of its most popular exhibits.

Dolly the sheep was born in 1996 at the Roslin Institute just outside Edinburgh, where she spent her entire life, gave birth to six healthy lambs and died in 2003 aged six.

Sophie Goggins, senior curator of biomedical science at National Museums Scotland, said: “We are delighted to add Dolly’s fleece and these remarkable instruments to the national collections, thanks to the generosity of Dr William A Ritchie.

“Dolly the sheep represents one of the most important scientific advances of the 20th century. Her fleece will now be available to researchers, ensuring Dolly’s remarkable contribution to science continues for generations to come.”

Dr Ritchie said: “When Dolly the sheep was introduced to the world the scientific community went wild. The impossible had been achieved, and to make the story even more remarkable, some of the equipment used to produce this breakthrough was handmade in the Roslin institute’s workshop just outside Edinburgh.

“It is only fitting that the equipment and the fleece are reunited with Dolly in Scotland’s national collections to add to the story of this extraordinary scientific achievement.”

Dolly’s fleece and the lab equipment were recently featured on an episode of the Antiques Roadshow and were valued at between £20,000 and £30,000.

Presenter Cristian Beadman said of the collection: “It’s almost impossible to value, I think it’s well into five figures at auction. I think you could be looking at £20,000 to £30,000.”

The items are expected to feature again on an Antiques Roadshow Christmas special being broadcast on Sunday.

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