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Polly vs. Dolly (cont)

Stephen Kayes skayes at USAMAIL.USOUTHAL.EDU
Thu Aug 7 16:10:24 EST 1997

Polly vs. Dolly (cont)

Derek is correct.  Polly was given a somatic sheep cell into which was inserted a
human gene which will result in the sheep making a human protein.  This was done to
examine the feasibility of creating a line of sheep (or it could have been pigs, goats,
etc) which will serve as biological factories making a human protein such as insulin,
growth hormone, or  some other protein which some people seem to come up short of. 
The experiment worked as planned.  This however, is not the manimal of which the
original question referred.  To make this point more clear, when you say DNA was put
into a sheep, that is not very precise.  Human DNA consists of a little over 3 billion base
pairs organized into mostly junk sequence but also containing the instructions for
everything that makes us human.  What was put into Polly was the ultra-tiny amount of
human DNA encoding a single gene (enough to instruct cells to make a single human
peptide.  This is quite different from removing an egg from the sheep and replacing its
nucleus with a human egg nucleus and then artificially fertilizing it.  

Steve Kayes

>>> "derek a. zelmer" <zelmeda4 at wfu.edu> 8/7/97  3:53 pm >>>
On Wed, 6 Aug 1997, John V LeDuc Jr wrote:

> Please educate me.
> Is there a successful human-animal clone process in place?
> (Transplanting human DNA or other such material into either a grown
> animal or animal
> embryo)

I just read a news bite about Polly, the latest result from the people who
gave us Dolly. Apparently this lamb was the result of the transfer of
human somatic DNA into a sheep embryonic cell. I don't know the details
about what genes were transplanted, but Polly looks like a sheep to me.
> > If so, what is the likelihood of animal-only diseases adapting to the
> "new" environment (the "manimal") and invading "true" humans?

Presumably the likelihood would be the same as those diseases adapting to
man "naturally". I'm guessing, however, that Polly might be expressing one
or two genes... a far cry from the Island of Dr. Moreau. 

Derek Zelmer

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