Rival scientist calls the bluff
Dr Severino Antinori, an Italian embryologist also engaged in cloning humans, doubts Dr Brigitte's claims to have created the world's first human clone. He fear that such an "announcement will create confusion".india Updated: Jan 10, 2003 18:50 IST
"An announcement of this type has no scientific corroboration and risks creating confusion," Severino Antinori told the Italian press agency Ansa.
A French scientist, who is a member of a Raelien cult which believes that mankind was created by extra-terrestrials, claimed on Friday that the group had produced the first-ever cloned human being.
The baby girl was born on Thursday by caesarean section and the birth "went very well," Brigitte Boisselier, member of the Raelian cult, said in a telephone interview with AFP from Florida.
Because the effort by the Raelians to achieve the first human birth by cloning was carried out in secrecy, it was not immediately possible to obtain any independent scientific confirmation that the baby was in fact a clone.
In her statement Boisselier, a 46-year-old French chemist who is also president of the Clonaid human cloning society, declined to give further details of the birth, saying a full press conference was scheduled in Florida later Friday.
Antinori last month said in Rome that a woman carrying a cloned human embryo was due to give birth in early January.
The gynecologist also confirmed in November that two other woman were pregnant with cloned embryos -- one them was then in her 28th week of pregnancy and the other in the 27th.
He refused to name the country or countries concerned or provide further details, but said all three women are "in the same geographical zone."
The doctor, who first announced the preganancies in April, insisted he had not carried out the procedure himself, and stressed his involvement was merely "cultural and scientific".
Italy is preparing to pass legislation that would impose tough penalties for anyone involved in cloning humans.