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Rivals in the race

Two scientists, Dr Panayiotis Zavos and Professor Severino Antinori, too were close on Dr Brigitte's heels in the race to be the first to clone a human.

india Updated: Jul 01, 2003 16:34 IST

Two scientists, Dr Panayiotis Michael Zavos and Professor Severino Antinori, too were close on Dr Brigitte's heels in the race to clone a human first.

The following are the profiles of Zavos and Antinori:

Dr Panayiotis Michael Zavos

Dr Panayiotis Michael Zavos, Ed.S., Ph.D. is a Professor Emeritus of Reproductive Physiology-Andrology at the University of Kentucky, Honorary Professor at the China Academy of Science, Founder, Director and Chief Andrologist of the Andrology Institute of America, Co-founder, Scientific Director and Chief Embryologist of the Kentucky Center for Reproductive Medicine and President and CEO of ZDL, Inc.

He received his BS in Biology, his MS in Biology-Physiology and Ed.S. from Emporia State University in Emporia, Kansas. Dr Zavos received his Ph.D. in Reproductive Physiology in 1978 from the University of Minnesota.

Dr Zavos has had a long career as a reproductive specialist and is the chief scientist in the development of several new and innovative technologies in the animal and human reproductive areas with worldwide implications. He has authored or co-authored more than 400 peer-review publications, along with a number of solicited reviews, book chapters and popular press releases. He has presented more than 300 abstracts and other presentations at a large number of scientific meetings all over the world. He served as an ad hoc reviewer for the NIH and other scientific groups.

Dr Zavos was awarded the first ever Honorary Professorship by the Chinese Academy of Science to an American. He has numerous scientific collaborations nationally and internationally, and his publications have appeared in ten languages. He is a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), the American Society of Andrology (ASA), the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE), the Middle East Fertility Society ( MEFS), the Japanese Fertility Society, the International Society of Cryobiology, Sigma XI, Gamma Sigma Delta and a number of other scientific and professional societies.

Dr Zavos is recognized worldwide as a leading researcher and authority in the areas of male reproductive physiology, gamete physiology, human infertility and Andrology.

Professor Severino Antinori

The Italian press call him 'the father of impossible children'. Others say he wants to imitate Hitler. But for the rich and infertile couples that he treats, Professor Severino Antinori is a miracle worker. The 56-year-old Italian obstetrician who made his name in the field of in-vitro fertilisation, says that he wants to offer the infertile a chance to bear a child. Antinori wants to clone people.

After leaving school, an interest in medicine took Severino Antinori to the University of Rome, from where he graduated in 1972. A year later, he moved to the Queen Elena Maternal Institute and began working in the Obstetrics and Gynaecology department. This became his field and over the next few years he built up an impressive track record and laid the foundations for his future career. He went on to marry biologist, Caterina Versaci, and in the early 1980s they set up an infertility clinic in Rome together.

The first major controversy of his career came in 1986 when he started experimenting with sperm injection techniques to combat male infertility. This angered the Catholic press, as did his later pioneering use of mice to incubate the sperm of men with low fertility.

In 1989, Antinori implanted his first menopausal subject with a donor egg, and again the press were outraged. It was in 1994, however, that he hit international headlines. The professor had carried out in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) on Rosana Della Cortes. She was 63 and had become the oldest known woman to give birth.

It isn't surprising he was gaining a reputation as a renegade, but for him it was just the beginning. Today, Antinori is head of a string of Rome-based fertility clinics. Perhaps more importantly, he is chairman of the privately funded Italian-US-Israeli human cloning consortium. His partners in this venture are Panayiotis Michael Zavos, an American fertility expert, and Avi Ben Abraham, an Israeli-American biotechnologist.

First Published: Dec 27, 2002 12:57 IST