Journalist backs out of 'clone' DNA test

A freelance journalist employed to oversee DNA tests that would had proved whether or not the first human clone has been produced by a US religious sect said yesterday his efforts had been blocked by the child's parents and that the entire episode could be a hoax.

A freelance journalist employed to oversee DNA tests that would had proved whether or not the first human clone has been produced by a US religious sect said yesterday his efforts had been blocked by the child's parents and that the entire episode could be a hoax.

Clonaid, a medical research company founded by the Raelian religious sect, which believes space aliens created life on Earth by cloning, claimed on 27 December to have produced a cloned child, to widespread scepticism from experts. It has admitted that independent DNA testing would be needed to make the claim credible.

Michael Guillen, a former science editor for ABC Television, said he had assembled a panel of experts to examine the child's DNA, but that because of the lack of co-operation he had suspended the team's work. "The team of scientists has had no access to the alleged family, and therefore cannot verify first-hand the claim that a human baby has been cloned," he said in a statement. "In other words, it's still entirely possible that Clonaid's announcement is part of an elaborate hoax intended to bring publicity to the Raelian movement.

"When and if an opportunity to collect DNA samples as promised does arise, however, the team stands fully prepared to re-mobilise and conduct the necessary tests."

Comments