LONDON (REUTERS) The British scientist who created Dolly the sheep -- a clone that shocked the animal world -- has begun trying to clone a human embryo. Ian Wilmut is conducting therapeutic cloning at the Roslin Institute, near Edinburgh. Professor Wilmut spoke with reporters gathered outside his research laboratory. "Thank you for coming. I haven't seen many of you since Dolly the Sheep was born. That sure was a big hit with all the tabloids, wasn't it? For almost a year after that we were very busy filling orders for cloned sheep, with most of the orders going to lonely farmers and ranchers around the world. We received many warm thank you notes from those folks. Here I'll read one to you "
Dear Professor Wilmut:
The Dolly cloned sheep you shipped to me last month has been working out very well. I take good care of her every day. I know Dolly is only a sheep, but she is very special to me and I could only hope that some day I will be able to find a woman that will take her place on my ranch.
Clem in Wyoming
Wiping a tear from the corner of his eye, Professor Wilmut continued, "I know there are a lot of people that are upset with me for beginning this work on cloning human embryos. They think I want to create some kind of new human race. I assure you that is not the case. What I have in mind is a new Dolly that looks more like a human than a sheep. I gave some thought to cloning Dolly Madison. She was quite an interesting woman, you know. Then I thought of that musical "Hello Dolly!" and thought about Carol Channing for a while. But once I took one look at that country music singer Dolly Parton, I knew I had just the right Dolly to clone. My new Dolly clone will be a very big hit --- and not with just farmers and ranchers this time!
In Nashville Dolly Parton was unavailable for comment, but her publicist asked, "Are you sure this Professor Wilmut is going to get all of Miss Parton's details copied exactly?"