US probes cloning claims

  • Agence France-Presse, PTI, Washington
  • |
  • Updated: Jan 10, 2003 18:03 IST
The US Food and Drug Administration said on Sunday it is investigating the Raelian sect's claims that it has cloned a human.

"We are going to probe the circumstances surrounding this alleged cloning. And we've started steps to look into that," FDA spokesman Brad Stow said.

He said that although the sect had claimed to have done the cloning outside the United States, the FDA would still look into it.

"We want to check and see first, whether the cloning did take place, and second if it violated any of our laws," he said.

Although human cloning is not illegal in the United States, any kind of human trials would have had to obtained FDA approval as of 1998, Stow said.

"We inspected some facilities that (the Raelian sect) had in West Virginia in 2001 and had discussions with them which resulted in an agreement by them to not to conduct any of their cloning research within the United States," Stow said.

On Friday, the Raelian movement, which believes that human beings were originally created by extra-terrestrials and sees cloning as a route to immortality, claimed it had created the first-ever carbon-copy of a human.

The claim has yet to be confirmed by independent experts.

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