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Dollie the cloned sheep


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In today's newpaper article about whay Dollie had to be put down, they said it was not to do with cloning. The guy quoted said it was probably from a common repiratory infection that they see in lots of sheep. But he refused to name the infection.


Do you shepherds know of a common infection that would be missed (even tho, uspposedly, a bunch of sheep in her area had it) that would lead to arthritis and all her other problems.


The guy also implied that the real problem was thet she had to be kept inside with those other sheep, instead of out on the hillside, because of the media. If so, why were those other sheep indoors too?


Maybe it all makes sense if you understand raising sheep. I don't - so I don't.

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Guest PrairieFire

Nancy -


I heard it was a "respiratory illness" on Npr, but that was it...


Being kept inside could very well be part of a respiratory problem, but I have also heard that nearly all of the cloned animals (and there are a ton of them now) have been showing signs of early degeneration - again, reported on popular newscasts with no background, so I can't say how true that really is...

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I had heard of those problems with clones, too. But this was the guy who coned Dollie. And he was trying to point out that her problems had nothing whatever to do with her being a clone.


You know, my grandfather used to say, "If you don't believe, ask me." I mean, gee, why would this guy lie?


I'm just a sceptic, I guess. But I figured if a common resipratory infection often goes undiagnosed and leads to arthritis, you folks would sure know it.

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Most of the reports that I have read and heard have been fairly imprecise about exactly what was killing Dolly, but I'm gathering the impression that it was probably Ovine Progressive Pneumonia. OPP can certainly cause arthritis, it's fairly common in housed flocks, and general starts to claim sheep at about Dolly's age (six years old), and is incurable.


The reports I've heard have said everything from a "progressive respiratory infection" to "lung cancer caused by a virus." Any oncologists want to deconstruct that last one? OPP is caused by a retrovirus and produces tumors or lesions on the lungs -- I can see how a journalist would get "lung cancer caused by a virus" out of that when the main point was to report the death of the first cloned mammal.


Another possibility would be Jaagskeite (sp?) which is another progressive and debilitating lung condition that can spread rapidly in housed flocks. Like OPP, it is incurable. I don't think it causes arthritis, though.


In any event, if it was OPP (or more precisely, Maedi-Visna, since the version of the retrovirus that causes OPP is more or less unique to North America) Dolly's demise was not particularly early. It seldom develops before the sheep is four years old. Most of the people I know who have had problems with it say that it usually takes sheep at ages 6 to 8.


More info on OPP is available at http://www.interrain.com/opp/ -- the website of the OPP Concerned Sheep Breeders Society.


Afterthought: OPP and Maedi-Visna are notoriously difficult to diagnose. It's not at all uncommon for blood tests to return both false positives and false negatives. So that's another vote in favor of M-V.

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