Professor and Head of the Department of Gene Expression and Development at the Roslin Institute, near Edinburgh, Scotland.
He is the leader of the team that produced Dolly the sheep in 1996, the first animal to be cloned from an adult cell. Since Dolly's birth, he has become something of an international figure as an expert on cloning techniques, and his laboratory continues to play a leading role in the development of methods for the cloning and genetic modification of animals.
Dr. Wilmut's own research centers on the cloning of human embryos to provide stem cells for treatment of degenerative disorders such as diabetes and Parkinson's disease. He has been a frequent advocate of the medical benefits to be derived from this new technology, giving many public lectures on the subject and participating in numerous panel discussions on the potential uses and misuses of cloning. He has also testified in the United Kingdom, France, and the United States before parliamentary and congressional committees considering the legislative regulation of cloning.
In 2000, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the highest Scottish society of learning, and in the previous year was made a member of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II. Other awards include a fellowship in the Academy of Medical Sciences, the Lord Lloyd of Kilgerran Prize, the Sir John Hammond Memorial Prize of the Society for the Study of Fertility, the Sir William Young Award of the Royal Highland & Agricultural Society of Scotland, and the Research Medal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England.
In addition to his many research papers, Dr. Wilmut has written a large number of popular articles on the subject of cloning, including pieces for Time, New Scientist, and Scientific American. In 2000, with coauthors Colin Tudge and Keith Campbell, he published The Second Creation: Dolly and the Age of Biological Control, which describes the research leading to the birth of Dolly and initial impressions of the value of cloning techniques.