School of Social and Political Science

Research project type

Historicising Dolly



Historicising Dolly was a project conducted in Science, Technology and Innovation Studies with funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the University of Edinburgh.

Its goal was to place the 1996 cloning of Dolly the sheep in its historical context. Building on the newly available archives of the Roslin Institute, where Dolly was cloned, we pursued several research trajectories. We explored the lineage of the cloning experiment within the agricultural research programme at Roslin and in the UK; the importance of a genetic engineering agenda in the genesis of Dolly; the difficult institutional history of the Roslin’s precursor bodies in the political turmoil of 1980s Britain; and Dolly’s legacy, both locally and within the global biosciences.


The project ran between July 2015 and December 2016. As a result of it, we have published three peer-reviewed articles on the role of mice as models for the introduction of biotechnology into farm animal and agricultural genetics, the complex experimental pathways behind the cloning of Dolly and the difficult financial situation that the Roslin Institute and its predecessor institutions faced during the 1980s and 1990s. We also held an international workshop on the history of farm animal research, and organised public events in Edinburgh.

We have also produced a policy report for BBSRC and held a Collective Memory Event, where the different scientists and stakeholders involved in the cloning of Dolly came together to share their recollections. The project attracted the attention of newspapersradio and blogs with the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Dolly’s birth, in 2016.


This project was funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the University of Edinburgh.

Research staff

Miguel García-Sancho (Principal Investigator)

Dmitriy Myelnikov​ (Research Fellow)


Research themes

  • Historical approaches to science, technology and medicine
  • Social studies of biology and medicine
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