Preprint / Version 1

Navigating Bioethical Waters: The ethical landscape behind stem cell research


  • Kai Sun Yiu Whitgift



Stem cells, iPSCs, SCNT, Cloning


July 5, 1996 marked the emergence of limitless, scientific fantasies. Dolly the sheep was born from her surrogate mother, after being cloned by Sir Ian Wilmut and his team from a six-year-old Finn Dorset sheep [1]. Dolly was formed through genetic material being extracted from the mammary gland of the Finn Dorset sheep and placed into an enucleated egg cell, taken from a Scottish Blackface sheep [2]. An embryo was formed following a series of meiotic divisions, and 148 days (about 5 months) after being implanted into the surrogate mother’s uterus, Dolly was born [3].

Dolly wasn’t the first mammal to be cloned, with that title being held by two other sheep, Megan and Morag, who had been cloned a year earlier from embryonic and fetal cells [2]. However, themis didn’t undermine her significance, through being the first mammal cloned from an adult cell, rather than an embryonic cell. Dolly’s existence disproved past assumptions that specialized cells could only do a certain job, with Dolly being born from a specialized mammary cell which somehow held the genetic information to create an entire new sheep [4]. This sparked new potential for medicine and biology through the development and research of personalized stem cells, with researchers continuing to advance their knowledge on stem cells today


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