In fact, wear-and-tear in her joints was similar to that of other sheep of her age, regardless of how they were conceived, say researchers.
Reports in 2003 that Dolly, the first animal cloned from adult cells, was suffering from osteoarthritis at the age of five led to considerable scientific concern and media debate over the possibility of early onset age-related diseases in cloned animals.
Researchers at the University of Nottingham, have re-examined her skeleton. Morag died at age four due to the same lung virus that killed Dolly but did not show any signs of arthritis. "We therefore felt it necessary to set the record straight".
The Genetic Science Learning Center has more on cloning.
However, a study previous year of cloned ewes Debbie, Denise, Dianna and Daisy, who were derived from the cell line that gave rise to Dolly - found evidence of only mild or, in one case, moderate osteoarthritis. Dolly's "four sisters" all lived to be at least eight years old, which is the approximate equivalent of 70 in human years, and all lived a healthy life.
Since none of Dolly's X-rays survived, the researchers X-rayed her skeleton.
They also X-rayed the skeletons of her naturally conceived daughter, Bonnie, and Megan and Morag (the first two animals to be cloned from differentiated cells).
It turns out that the findings in Dolly were not unexpected, given her age.
The results show "that the original concerns that cloning had caused early onset osteoarthritis in Dolly were unfounded", Sandra Corr, a professor of small animal orthopedic surgery at Glasgow University, said in a University of Nottingham news release.
Dolly the sheep did not have early onset osteoarthritis after all, according to new research.