NEW YORK – It will be no ordinary homecoming for a newborn claimed to be the world’s first cloned human.
The baby, nicknamed “Eve,” was to be flown home to the United States on Monday — and almost immediately face DNA testing to determine if the cloning assertion is true.
“The baby is going home and once at home it is possible for an independent expert to go there and once a sample is taken we will see,” said Brigitte Boisselier, chief executive of Clonaid, the cloning company affiliated with a religious sect that believes space aliens launched life on Earth.
“On Monday if a sample is taken, perhaps by the end of the week or early next week we should have all the details,” she said, referring to genetic testing needed to prove whether the child is really a clone.
On Sunday, Boisselier said a pediatrician has seen the baby and that she is “doing fine.”
Boisselier previously said the child’s mother is American but has offered no further details. Neither she nor Clonaid spokeswoman Nadine Gary would say where in the United States the mother is from, where the child was born or what U.S. city they would be arriving in.
Both said details were being kept secret to protect the child and her family.
Boisselier’s comments Sunday came two days after she announced at a Florida news conference that Clonaid scientists had produced the world’s first cloned baby. She said a healthy 7-pound girl was delivered by Caesarean section Thursday and is an exact genetic copy of her mother.
Boisselier offered no scientific proof, provided no photographs and did not produce the child or the mother, who she said is a 31-year-old with an infertile husband. Her announcement was met with doubt by the scientific community and revulsion by many ethicists.
To gain convincing proof that “Eve” is a clone, Boisselier said she had accepted an offer by a former ABC News science editor, Michael Guillen, who has chosen independent experts to draw DNA from the mother and the newborn and test them for a match.
Clonaid was founded by Claude Vorilhon, a former French journalist and leader of a sect called the Raelians. Vorilhon, who calls himself Rael, claims a space alien visiting him in 1973 revealed that extraterrestrials had created all life on Earth through genetic engineering.
Boisselier, who claims two chemistry degrees, identifies herself as a Raelian “bishop” and said Clonaid retains philosophical but not economic links to the Raelians.
She also said a second cloned baby is due to be born next week to a lesbian couple in northern Europe. Boisselier had previously announced four other couples, including the lesbians, were expected to give birth to Clonaid-created clones by early February.
The United States has no specific law against human cloning. But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which regulates human experiments, says its regulations forbid human cloning without prior agency permission, and it has launched an investigation into whether Clonaid illegally performed any work on U.S. soil.