'Clone's' Parents Waver on DNA Test

Associated Press/January 3, 2003

Paris -- The parents of a newborn claimed to be the world's first cloned human are balking on whether to allow DNA testing on the child, said the head of the cloning company that says it brought the baby to life.

Many experts have expressed skepticism about the company's claim that the baby was a clone, saying they needed to see a DNA matching as proof.

But "the parents told me that they needed 48 hours to decide yes or no - if they would do it,'' Brigitte Boisselier told French television station France-2 in an interview Thursday.

Boisselier is chief executive of Clonaid, which is linked to a religious sect that believes space aliens created life on Earth. She is also a member of the sect, called the Raelians.

Clonaid has refused to identify the parents or offer any proof that the child - nicknamed "Eve'' - is a clone. But the company had promised DNA test results to confirm their claim by around the end of this week.

Attempts by The Associated Press to reach Michael Guillen, the freelance journalist who was arranging the DNA testing, were not successful Thursday. A spokeswoman for Clonaid said she was not familiar with Boisselier's broadcast remarks and was unable to comment Thursday.

Boisselier told France-2 the parents were reconsidering whether to submit to testing because of legal action taken in Florida that could result in the cloned child being taken away from them.

Earlier this week, a court in Florida was asked to turn the baby over to state care if it found the baby's health was in danger. Though Clonaid has kept secret the baby's whereabouts, the company held its news conference to announce the clone's birth in Florida, which could give the court jurisdiction, argued lawyer Bernard F. Siegel.

"That is a lot of turbulence for the parents (who) have gone home and just want to have some peace and spend time with their children,'' said Boisselier.

Meanwhile, a second cloned baby was expected to be born somewhere in Europe before Sunday, Boisselier said. She declined to name the country.

Boisselier had previously said that three additional couples were expected to give birth to Clonaid-created clones by early February.

Clonaid, which declines to reveal where its facilities are, was founded in the Bahamas in 1997 by the man who founded the Raelian religious sect. The man, Rael, says he learned about the origin of life on Earth from a visitor from outer space. He says he views cloning as a step toward reaching eternal life.

Clonaid retains philosophical but not economic ties to the Raelians, the company says.

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