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Clonaid

From Academic Kids

da:Clonaid fr:Clonaid Clonaid is a self-described "human cloning company." It is openly associated with the Raelian Movement, which sees cloning as part of the path to immortality.

Most scientists, noting the high incidence of malformations and fetal deaths in animal cloning, have condemned Clonaid for premature human experimentation.

Contents

Claims of success in human cloning

On December 27, 2002, Dr. Brigitte Boisselier, a Raelian bishop and CEO of Clonaid, announced to the world press that Clonaid had successfully cloned a human being. Boisselier said that the mother delivered by Caesarean section somewhere outside the United States, and that both the mother and the little girl, Eve, are healthy. Dr. Boisselier did not present the mother or child, or any DNA samples that could be used to confirm her claim at the press conference, although she did explain the procedure which she intended to use to confirm her claims. It has subsequently become apparent that the announcement was made prior to genetic testing to evaluate whether the child in question is actually a clone: Dr. Boisselier was therefore stating her belief that her procedure had resulted in a clone, not announcing results showing that the child was a clone.

On January 2, 2003, Dr. Boisselier told a French television audience that the American parents of the supposed clone are balking at providing DNA evidence to prove that their baby is really a clone. The parents are allegedly afraid that the state of Florida will try to take the baby away from them.

On January 4, 2003, Boisselier announced the birth of another cloned baby to a Dutch lesbian couple. Clonaid also said there would be four other cloned babies delivered by February 2003.

Skepticism about claims

Several scientists who were interviewed regarding the announcement averred skepticism regarding both the authenticity and the ethics of Clonaid's procedures. These included Lord Robert Winston, head of the IVF research team at London's Hammersmith Hospital, and Tanja Dominko of the Oregon Regional Primate Center's monkey cloning project.

Scientists with experience in animal cloning have stated that cloning has a low rate of success per implantation, and that many cloned fetuses are malformed or do not survive to be born. They are surprised that Clonaid does not appear to be affected by these problems; either Clonaid has been extremely lucky in discovering a superior method of cloning, they claim, or the company is making false claims. In any case, it seems odd to many that Clonaid is not more forthcoming with proof of their success. Some have suggested it odd that the company has started with human cloning, instead of working first with animals. (The company has no record of having successfully cloned any non-human animal.) Many seem to find the company's credibility further reduced by its connections to the Raelian movement.

In an article published April 23, 2003, The Boston Globe revealed that the company has no address, no board of directors, and only two employees. Nevertheless, the company continues to charge upwards of $200,000 for its "cloning" services, leading some to suspect that the organization is just a money-raising enterprise for the Raelians. The Raelians deny any direct connection to Clonaid, but admit being in support of Clonaid's actions. [1] (http://www.rickross.com/reference/raelians/raelians78.html)

Lack of evidence

So far, no verifiable evidence has been presented by Clonaid, despite claims that they would do this within days of their initial announcement. They claim that the parents of the first cloned child have had second thoughts about submitting their child to scientific tests.

This lack of evidence is surprising, since laboratory tests are performed on most newborn children, and most cloning projects perform extensive tests on cloned newborns to verify that they are true clones. This has led to assertions that Clonaid's claims may be an elaborate hoax.

On January 10, 2003, a U.S. court ordered Clonaid to reveal the identity and whereabouts of the alleged cloned baby.

Later Events

On October 9, 2003, newspaper Le journal de Montréal published an article accusing Clonaid and the Raelian organization of maintaining an outright hoax in its claims regarding cloning a human baby.

Religious response

Clonaid is openly condemned by many Jewish, Christian and Muslim religious leaders, some of whom view it as challenging long-held definitions of human dignity and encroaching on the power of God, who these faiths view as "creating Man in His own image". Others consider the Raelians' suggestion that cloning oneself is a form of immortality is disingenuous at best, and question whether immortality is desirable or wise.

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