CNN: Cloned Baby to be Born

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by RebelBaptist, Nov 27, 2002.

  1. RebelBaptist

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    Aug 21, 2002
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    Well, isn't this something. Some scientists are scoffing at this news, but I reckon we will just have to wait and see if this is true come January. The article is from

    Rebel [><]

    ROME, Italy -- Experts have greeted with scepticism the claims by an Italian doctor that a woman was 33 weeks' pregnant with a cloned baby boy.

    Dr Severino Antinori has claimed without proof in the past that several women are carrying cloned babies -- for example in March, 2001 saying he would produce a human clone in 18 months. There has been no evidence yet this has happened.

    The doctor who clones Dolly the sheep, Professor Ian Wilmut of the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh, Scotland, said people should be "extremely sceptical" of Antinori's claims.

    Wilmut said Antinori had said he had cloned large number of pigs and even primates, but no one had seen them and no scientific paper had been published.

    Michael Le Page, biomedical news editor of New Scientist magazine, told CNN it was very difficult to know what to believe when Antinori had become known for making bold comments.

    "If anyone has cloned a human baby I would be surprised if they would make an immediate announcement," he said.

    Le Page said cloning was illegal in some countries, like the UK, so if a cloned baby was announced and a year later was found to be retarded in some way the doctors involved would look "a bit silly."

    But John Kilner, president of the U.S. think tank the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity, said: "While there are well-founded reasons to be sceptical of Dr. Antinori's claim that a woman is due to give birth to a clone soon, he reminds us that there are those who would continue this dangerous, unethical quest.

    "Such experiments subject human beings produced through cloning to a high risk of death and deformity. The best way to ensure that cloning is not pursued is to pass a comprehensive ban on human cloning.

    "The United States should do this as soon as possible and continue to press the case for a comprehensive ban treaty in the United Nations.

    "Regardless of the health and well-being of the clone upon birth, all nations should affirm the child's human rights. The risk of doing nothing is unacceptable."

    Antinori told a news conference in Rome on Tuesday that a woman was 33 weeks' -- more than eight months' -- pregnant with a cloned baby boy and that the child was developing in an "absolutely healthy" way.

    In April, Antinori claimed that he knew of three pregnancies -- then in the ninth, seventh and sixth weeks of development -- involving cloned babies. He said on Tuesday that the oldest of these was about to be born.

    However, according to his statement in April, the longest pregnancy would have passed nine months in mid-November. Antinori would not explain the discrepancy on Tuesday.

    He also refused to specify if he had any role in the alleged clonings. He did say that he would not be involved in the delivery of the baby, but that he had given a "cultural and scientific contribution" to a consortium of scientists involved in the pregnancies. He refused to identify the scientists. Other groups are claiming to be working on cloning a human.

    Antinori refused to identify the woman who was to give birth in January or give her nationality. When asked where she was going to give birth he said only "countries where this is permitted." Cloning has been declared illegal in many countries.

    Antinori, who runs a private fertility clinic in Rome, gained attention in the 1990s when he used donor eggs and hormones to help post-menopausal women to have children.

    Experts have repeatedly dismissed Antiniori's claims and say they doubt that he is capable of achieving a cloned pregnancy.

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