Fort Lauderdale (Florida), Jan. 23 (Reuters): The saga of the alleged first human clone wound up in a Florida court yesterday, with a sceptical-sounding judge probing a representative of the company that has said it produced the baby but given no evidence.
Clonaid, founded by a sect that believes mankind was created by extraterrestrials, caused an international stir last month by announcing it had produced the first cloned human, a baby girl called “Eve” born to an American mother on December 26. Scientists around the world believe Clonaid’s announcement — made at a hotel in Florida — is a hoax aimed at making money, or garnering publicity for the Raelians.
Thomas Kaenzig, Clonaid vice-president, failed to shed light on the company or reveal “Eve’s” whereabouts in testimony given by phone from Las Vegas to a hearing in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. But he said the child was well cared for.
The hearing was called after a Florida attorney, Bernard Siegel, filed a petition earlier this month asking the state court to appoint a guardian for “Eve,” on the grounds that if she is cloned she could face serious medical problems.
Clonaid — which has also announced an alleged second cloned baby born to a Dutch woman and a third one, this time Japanese, due this week — has not produced any evidence of any babies, let alone evidence that they are clones.
Clonaid backed away from an earlier assertion it would do DNA testing on “Eve” after Siegel filed his petition, saying the parents feared the child might be taken from them.
Juvenile court judge John Frusciante sought at the hearing to establish whether he would have jurisdiction in the case.
The lawyers representing Clonaid, Jonathan Schwartz and Barry Wax, say the judge has no jurisdiction since “Eve” has not been in Florida.
Frusciante said he wanted to know where the alleged cloned child was to determine if he had jurisdiction, and stressed his only concern was to protect any needy child.
Frusciante sought more information and ordered Kaenzig to appear before the court for a further hearing on January 29.