Chris Buck, Dolly, 1997

In 1997 photographer Chris Buck portrayed the Scottish four-year-old Dolly. As the first mammal ever cloned, Dolly became the world’s most famous sheep. She was born on July 5, 1996 and died six years later, on February 14, 2003. Sheep of the same breed as Dolly are usually to live eleven or twelve years, Dolly however passed away after only six. After a post mortem, research scientists concluded that Dolly’s death was caused by Jaagsiekte, a name derived from Afrikaans which means “Chasing Disease,” and can be considered a form of lung cancer. Advocates of cloning research defended Dolly’s sickness and said that Jaagsiekte is known to be a fairly common cause of death among sheep and they claimed that several other sheep in the same flock as Dolly had died of it as well. Furthermore, Dr. Harry Griffin of the Roslin Institute, where Dolly was bred and lived her whole life, stated that there was no evidence that cloning caused Dolly’s infection. However, Dolly’s death raised new questions about the limits and dangers in the field of cloning, an ongoing debate six years after Dolly’s death this Valentine’s Day February 14, 2009. Dolly’s remains are exhibited at the Royal Museum of Scotland.

About claartjevandijk

Assistant Curator, Collections at the International Center of Photography, New York
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