Obit Biologist Keith Campbell, famous for creating the first cloned mammal, Dolly the sheep, has died aged 58, the University of Nottingham said.
Professor Campbell's creation of a live Ovis aries clone in 1996 was an incredible event, thrilling scientists with a breakthrough that paved the way for other successful cloning programmes but angering some animal rights activists, conspiracy theorists, scaremongers and ordinary people, who debated the moral and religious implications of the science.
Whether to be celebrated or reviled, Dolly, named after singer Dolly Parton, was an instant celebrity when she was created at the Roslin Institute in Scotland, throwing clone research into the limelight. The sheep had to be put down in 2003 after she developed lung disease.
Campbell was jointly awarded the Shaw Prize for Life Science and Medicine in 2008, which honours individuals who have achieved significant breakthroughs in scientific research and whose work has resulted in a positive and profound impact on mankind.
His career in cell biology and embryology research lasted 30 years, the last 13 of which were spent at the University of Nottingham.
“Keith was a giant in the field of reproductive biology," his colleague at Nottingham Professor Kevin Sinclair said. "His pioneering studies into cell-cycle control and cellular differentiation led to the programme of work at Roslin that gave birth to the first mammal to be cloned from adult cells - ie, Dolly the sheep.
“This pioneering study has helped pave the way for others to develop gene and stem-cell based strategies for therapeutic purposes. He was an inspiration to both his colleagues and students at Nottingham, and will be greatly missed by all." ®