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British scientist Ian Wilmut, who led team that cloned Dolly the Sheep, dies at age 79

Ian Wilmut, the cloning pioneer whose work was critical to the creation of Dolly the Sheep in 1996, has died at age 79.

The University of Edinburgh in Scotland said Wilmut died Sunday after a long illness with Parkinson’s disease.

Wilmut set off a global discussion about the ethics of cloning when he announced that his team at the university’s Roslin Institute for animal biosciences had cloned a lamb using the nucleus of a cell from an adult sheep.

“This breakthrough continues to fuel many of the advances that have been made in the field of regenerative medicine that we see today,” he said.

Wilmut is survived by his wife, three children and five grandchildren, the University of Edinburgh said. Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.

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