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Historicising Dolly: an Edinburgh-centred case study of the emergence of animal biotechnology

Miguel Garcia-Sancho

Funding: BBSRC

July 1 2015 – December 31 2016

Over the last 20 years, Roslin Institute has emerged as a leading institution in both the development of basic biomedical techniques and the commercial exploitation of agricultural biotechnology. This has led a complex network of stakeholders to arise around the Institute, comprising small and medium enterprises, fellow biological researchers and scientifically-minded audiences, especially after the cloning of the sheep Dolly.

Our project starts with the hypothesis that both the equilibrium between pure and applied science and the impact potential that benefitted Roslin stem from a long history of animal breeding in Edinburgh, which dates back to the late 19th century and thus predates the cloning experiments and the formation of start-up companies.

We seek to explain the success of Roslin Institute in light of this preceding history and disseminate the findings as a model for future developments in biotechnology. By combining academic research and policy engagement, we will demonstrate that history may contribute to shed light on the processes by which agricultural biotechnology was and is still configured within an increasingly globalised and market-driven scientific space.