A British cell biologist central to the cloning of the first adult mammal died at his home in England last Friday, aged 58. Keith Campbell and colleague Ian Wilmut announced their success with cloning Dolly the sheep in 1997, achieving what experts had believed impossible—and sparking a major ethical debate over the possibility of cloning humans. Campbell himself was deeply opposed to the idea, the New York Times notes in its obituary for the scientist. "Why would anyone want to clone, anyway? It’s far too expensive and a lot less fun than the original method," he once said.
Campbell, who taught at the University of Nottingham beginning in 1999, saw cloning as a means to foster animals capable of creating medications or organs that humans could use. He had a lifelong interest in animals. While Wilmut was listed as the lead author of the research behind Dolly, he says Campbell was responsible for "66%" of the project. Indeed, it was Campbell's idea to attempt to revert specialized adult cells into undifferentiated forms, making the endeavor possible. Campbell's cause of death hasn't been publicized.