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Clone reporter backing off • Saturday January 4, 2003

May not verify baby over delays
New York Daily News, Jan. 4, 2003

The former ABC science reporter who was picked to verify a French company’s claim that it cloned a baby girl is close to pulling out of the project, a close friend said yesterday.

Michael Guillen is growing impatient that the DNA tests aimed at proving the child is not science fiction have been delayed – and wants to salvage his reputation before it’s too late.

“If something doesn’t give by the end of the weekend, it’s safe to say Guillen will be making a statement at the beginning of the week,” said the friend, who has been in regular contact with the reporter.

The friend, whose relationship to Guillen was verified by the Daily News, spoke on the condition of anonymity.

So far Brigitte Boisselier, the head of Clonaid and a bishop in a UFO-loving religious cult called the Raelians, has not offered any proof that the baby, named Eve, even exits.

After promising that DNA tests would be done to prove that the baby is the genetic match of its mother, Boisselier on Thursday announced that Eve’s parents needed another 48 hours to decide whether to allow the test.

Boisselier said they were frightened by a Florida lawyer’s motion to appoint a guardian for the still unseen child and were worried that Guillen could be forced to reveal the family’s identity.

Strange claim

Guillen, who lives in a Boston suburb, could not be reached for comment last night. He has not been seen since Boisselier shocked the scientific world last week with the announcement that her company had successfully produced the world’s first human clone.

Boisselier said Eve was born on Dec. 26 to a 31-year-old American mother. She did not say where the child was born but implied it was somewhere in Europe.

She has also said – again, without offering proof – that another cloned baby will be born to a lesbian couple in the Netherlands sometime before tomorrow.

Cult leader Claude Vorilhon, who calls himself Rael, has insisted repeatedly that Eve exists and is not a publicity stunt. But he also has urged Boisselier to delay the genetic testing and accused a Florida judge of trying to take Eve from her mother – even though no such legal action has been taken.

Vorilhon’s followers believe that aliens from outer space created life on Earth and that cloning will help man achieve immortality.

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