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Don’t clone him, says cult chief’s ex-wife

Paris, Jan. 6: The leader of the Raelian cult, which claims to have created two infant clones, was a terrible husband and father and repeatedly unfaithful, his ex-wife told a French newspaper yesterday.

His aunt added that whenever Rael, whose real name is Claude Vorilhon, spoke about the aliens who cloned him, his family would call him “cornichon”, a French word meaning both gherkin and nincompoop.

The Raelians’ chief scientist, Brigitte Boisselier, claimed yesterday that three more cloned children would be born within a month. Scientists, however, remained sceptical about the two allegedly cloned babies already born.

Rael said he had now instructed Boisselier to press ahead now with accelerated cell growth, which he believes holds the key to everlasting life.

Rael was born in Ambert, central France, the product of an adulterous affair between his mother and a married man, not, as he has claimed, of his mother’s impregnation by aliens.

“I know my sister,” said Vorilhon’s aunt Therese. “Little green men weren’t her type.” Vorilhon told the Journal du Dimanche that she married Claude in the early Seventies.

At first, she said: “He was charming and intelligent”. The couple had two children.

In the mid-Seventies Vorilhon published his first book, in which he claimed to be the aliens’ messenger on Earth. The family moved to the Perigord, where their house soon filled up with cult followers.

In time Vorilhon grew sick of cooking for her husband’s followers and girlfriends who arrived at the weekends.

“He was completely depraved and liked to be surrounded by young girls.” She asked for a divorce in 1985.

Drug firms’ plea

Drug companies pioneering the use of stem cells to treat incurable diseases are pleading the case for cloning research amid a furore over claims by the Raelian sect.

Industry leaders fear an ill-informed backlash against all cloning would jeopardise research into novel ways of treating serious illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. “It may swing opinion strongly to doing something urgently about reproductive cloning, which we would have no problem with,” Simon Best, chairman of the US Biotechnology Industry Organisation’s bioethics committee, said today.

“But in the US this is a very political issue and it may add weight to efforts to reintroduce legislation in the Senate banning all types of cloning, and that would be a concern,” he said. Best, the chief executive of Scotland’s Ardana Biosciences, believes it will be many weeks before the world learns whether cloning claims made by the Raelian movement are anything more than a publicity stunt.

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