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Eve and mother at home, proof promised

Miami, Dec. 31 (Reuters): The head of a company that says it has produced the first human clone said yesterday that the mother and baby were home following the child’s birth last week and genetic proof demanded by scientists and other sceptics should be available in a week.

Brigitte Boisselier, chief executive of Clonaid, which is linked to a group that believes mankind was created by extraterrestrials, declined to say whether the 31-year-old American mother and her child were in the US or elsewhere.

Her claim to have cloned a human being drew sceptical reaction from experts in the field and she offered no proof.

“Hopefully it’s going to be done tomorrow,” she said. “At least the (genetic) sampling should be done tomorrow. We’re working on it to make sure everything is going fine.”

Boisselier announced on Friday in Florida that the company had produced the first human clone with the birth of a 3.2 kg baby girl called Eve.

The US Food and Drug Administration, which strongly opposes human cloning, said yesterday it was “taking steps to investigate” Clonaid’s claim. It said the implantation of a cloned baby into a woman is illegal in the US without FDA approval.

Clonaid was founded by the creator of the Raelian Movement, a group that claims 55,000 followers around the world and asserts that life on Earth was sparked by extraterrestrials who arrived 25,000 years ago and created humans through cloning.

Cattle, mice, sheep and other animals have been cloned with mixed success. Some have displayed defects later in life and scientists fear the same could happen with cloned humans.

The Raelians’ founder, Claude Vorilhon, a French native known as Rael to his followers, told the Miami Herald on Sunday that Clonaid has a list of 2,000 people willing to pay $200,000 to have themselves or a loved one cloned.

Vorilhon, who describes himself as a prophet, told the Herald that he had distanced himself from Clonaid since its founding but expected the company to make money and to ultimately create eternal life.

“It’s a commercial company and her goal is to make as much money as possible, and I hope she will make as much money as possible,” Vorilhon said of Boisselier. He said scientists may develop technology within 25 years to create a full-grown human clone in hours.

“It’s a very beautiful step, but it’s just a step,” Vorilhon, 56, said. Vorilhon claims to have been contacted on December 13, 1973, outside Paris by aliens who told him that life on Earth had been created in laboratories by scientifically advanced people from space.

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