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'Clone baby can be a hoax'

US journalist Michael Guillen, who was trying to verify claims that a human clone baby had been born, says the clone claims could be an elaborate hoax intended to bring publicity to the Raelian movement.

india Updated: Jan 10, 2003 18:00 IST

US journalist Michael Guillen, who was trying to verify claims that a human clone baby had been born, said on Monday that he had suspended the verification process and that the claims could be "an elaborate hoax" by the Raelian sect.

"This morning, I suspended the independent review process designed to determine whether or not a cloned human baby has been born," Guillen said in a statement.

"The team of scientists has had no access to the alleged family and, therefore, cannot verify firsthand the claim that a human baby has been cloned," he said.

"In other words, it's still entirely possible Clonaid's announcement is part of an elaborate hoax intended to bring publicity to the Raelian movement," Guillen said.

Clonaid'sspokeswoman Nadine Gary said she was surprised by Guillen's announcement.

"I'm not aware" of the suspension, she said.

Gary said that Clonaid president Brigitte Boisselier was waiting for a response from the supposed parents of the baby on whether they would allow the DNA tests.

DNA samples were to have been taken by an independent expert from the baby, dubbed Eve, and her mother, and Guillen was to have supervised the work.

The human cloning company Clonaid, whose offices are in Las Vegas, Nevada, was founded by the Raelian sect, which believes humans were cloned from aliens who landed on Earth 25,000 years ago.

First Published: Jan 07, 2003 02:07 IST