We have used a (TTAGGG) oligonucleotide probe to demonstrate that ovine telomeres are composed of (TTAGGG) repeat arrays and to compare the terminal restriction fragment lengths of sheep derived by natural mating and nuclear transfer. Here we show that ovine somatic telomeres decrease in length with age, and that Dolly, derived by the transfer of 6-year-old adult somatic nucleus, exhibits diminished terminal restriction fragment lengths. The decrease is consistent with the age of the donor tissue and telomere erosion during in vitro culture. Nuclear transfer does not restore telomere lengths. Dolly otherwise appears physiologically and phenotypically normal for her breed and age. We further report on apparent telomere lengthening in sheep, occurring during the first year in naturally derived lambs.