Would you believe that Dolly the sheep was named after country singer Dolly Parton. That Dolly the sheep is possibly the most famous sheep to have ever lived, being the very first successfully cloned mammal. So, OK how do you view this if you’re a massive fan of the buxom country singer? With trepidation, disdain or glee? Once you discover the reason behind the naming of the sheep, your take on it may actually be one of, “gee those scientists were cheeky.”
Today the prospect of cloning is an often mentioned one. The most common arguments for and against the science include, but are not limited to ethical, religious, scientific and medical applications. But back in 1998 it was still science fiction, until Dolly. The birth of this wonder sheep plunged the world into a realm of science reality. But why give the sheep the name Dolly and why name it after Dolly Parton?
When she was cloned the scientists took the cells from a specific region of the elder sheep, specifically the mammary gland. Yep, they took the cells to be cloned from the breasts of the sheep. The scientists thought it would be fitting to name Dolly the sheep after a celebrity known for her, ummm, breasts. Who better to name Dolly the sheep after than Dolly Parton, especially considering her massive twins?
While writing this a few thoughts had passed my mind as to other notable women to name Dolly the sheep after, sticking with the theme of breasts that is. They could have picked Pamela, or even Lara (after Lara Croft of Tomb Raider fame), but neither sounds as cuddly or memorable as Dolly.
Unfortunately Dolly wasn’t long for this world. She lived for just under six years, but the impact she had on science will last an eternity.