Cloned Sheep Had Arthritis

By: Janet Martin

Dolly, the first mammal to be cloned at the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh, Scotland, who lived for six years, was a victim of arthritis.

The disease had crippled the famous sheep named after sexy country western singer Dolly Parton, prompting scientists to put her to sleep. Her remains are currently on exhibit at the Royal Museum of Scotland.

Normally, sheep like Dolly live for about 12 years but her life was cut short by arthritis and progressive lung disease. However, Roslin scientists said her disease had nothing to do with the fact that she was a clone since other sheep in the farm had the same ailments. Still, other scientists expressed doubts on this matter.

"Professor Ian Wilmut, a member of the team at the Roslin Institute, said the condition may have arisen because of genetic defects caused by the cloning process. He has called for a research program to establish the impact cloning has on animal health," according to the BBC News.

"There is no way of knowing if this is down to cloning or whether it is a coincidence. We will never know the answer to that," Wilmut told the press.

The condition was discovered when Dolly was five years old and was used as an example by animal welfare groups to point out that cloning is dangerous. While it is unusual for a five-year-old sheep like Dolly to have arthritis, the condition is not unknown.

In fact, arthritis is a common ailment in the animal kingdom, affecting not only sheep but whales and toads as well.

An 11-year-old female whale that died of dehydration and starvation while stranded in the river Thames in southern England, also had arthritis.

The 19.2 feet whale apparently suffered from severe pain in her neck, according to Richard Sabin, curator of the Natural History Museum, who studied her remains. Sabin said this was expected since deep-diving whales often put their bodies into a lot of stress and punishment.

"The whale first surfaced on January 20, 2006 after mistakenly swimming into the North Sea and up the Thames. It died a day later as rescuers tried to take it towards deeper waters. Experts said the whale may have been trying to head west to the Atlantic Ocean where it could feed on deep sea squid, but took a wrong turn, ending up near Chelsea Bridge in the heart of London," explained the BBC News.

In Australia, invading cane toads have likewise developed arthritis because of their aggressive behavior. Researchers from the University of Sydney said the toads's rapid entry into new territory has made them bigger, heavier, and more susceptible to the disease.

The toads were first introduced in Australia in the 1930s to control insects in sugar cane fields. Since then, their numbers have grown and their territory has spread far and wide, putting great stress on their skeletons.

From these examples, it's clear that arthritis is a universal disease that affects man and animals alike. While there is no escape from arthritis, you can turn to modern drugs for help. One of them is Flexcerin, a natural supplement that rebuilds, lubricates, and soothes inflamed and swollen joints. For details, visit http://www.flexcerin.com.

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