Clonaid, the US Company that claims that it has helped human clones to be born, has been given one week to prove it by a Florida court. Judge John Frusciante told Thomas Kaenzig, vice-president of Clonaid, to disclose the whereabouts of 'Eve', the first alleged clone, so that the court could determine whether it had jurisdiction over her. Kaenzig must appear before the court for a further hearing on 29 January.
Just days earlier Claude Vorilhon, otherwise known as Rael, leader of the Raelian religious cult that has been linked to Clonaid, said that the alleged births of cloned infants 'may not have happened'. Proof that was promised by Clonaid has not materialised. Rael said that if the claims were true, Brigitte Boisselier, Clonaid's scientific director, 'deserves the Nobel prize because she is making history, and it's the most fantastic scientific advance in the history of humanity'. Even if the claims were not true, he said, she would also be 'making history with one of the biggest hoaxes in history, so in both ways it's wonderful'.
Boisselier has announced the birth of a third cloned baby to a woman in Japan. The third baby that Clonaid claim to have produced is alleged to be a clone of a two-year old boy who died in an accident 18 months ago.
Meanwhile, the Italian fertility doctor Severino Antinori is also continuing to cause controversy. Currently under investigation by Italian officials about his involvement in reproductive cloning projects, he has begun a hunger strike, claiming that he is 'persecuted'. He said 'from now on I am not eating anything until Prime Minister Berlusconi meets me and gives me guarantees that Italy is still a free country for science and for me'. Italy currently has a voluntary moratorium on human reproductive cloning and is attempting to pass legislation to formally ban it.