Maverick Italian doctor Severino Antinori's mid-December claim that the world's first cloned child was to be born this month in Serbia may have been proved wrong. If the latest claims are true, Canadian company Clonaid have beaten him to it, having announced the birth of a cloned baby girl called Eve on 26 December.
Speaking at a press conference in Florida, Dr Brigitte Boisselier, Clonaid's scientific director, said that the healthy seven-pound baby had been born to a 31-year old American woman at an undisclosed overseas location. Boisselier would not identify the woman or the scientists involved in order to protect the family from media scrutiny. She claimed that Clonaid, an offshoot of the Raelian religious cult, began work on cloning in January last year and implanted 10 women with cloned embryos last Spring. Five of the women had early miscarriages, she said, but five had successful pregnancies, with Eve being the first of the babies to be born.
According to Boisselier, the next cloned baby was due to be born to a lesbian couple somewhere in Northern Europe within the next week. It has since been announced that this baby - also a girl - has been born. The remaining pregnancies, Boisselier said, are expected to come to term in February. Clonaid officials are reported to have told an American newspaper that of the remaining pregnancies, one baby is due to be born to a surrogate carrying the cloned child of another woman, and two to couples who have used cells from their own dead children in order to have another child. Additionally, the New York Times reported that Clonaid will implant another 20 cloned embryos into women next month and are considering offering the service publicly.
To back up the claims about Eve, Boisselier said that the baby would undergo genetic testing by an independent scientist in order to prove that it was a genetic replica of its mother. Scientists from around the world have condemned the claims in the absence of proof, citing a lack of evidence that Clonaid has the expertise to have achieved a live human cloned baby.
Sources and References
Another cloned baby due 'within weeks'
First human clone is 'born', or has the world been monstrously duped?
Sooner or later, one of these fanatics will clone a baby