AFP, Jan. 25, 2003

Britain’s Science Museum defended its decision to exhibit a machine that the shadowy Raelian sect claims to have used to clone humans.

The machine, described by the sect’s scientific company Clonaid as an “RMX2010 embryonic cell fusion machine”, went on display last Wednesday at the museum in central London.

“Clonaid’s ‘cloning machine’ makes a thought-provoking addition to our science news gallery in the run-up to the 50-year anniversary of Watson and Crick’s unravelling of the structure of DNA,” said Emily Scott, head of science news exhibitions at the museum.

The Raelians and their linked scientific group Clonaid attracted media attention and widespread criticism in December after claiming to have produced the world’s first cloned baby, Eve.

Since then the group says two more cloned babies have been born, but has still not delivered any proof or allowed DNA tests to confirm its claims.

The machine on display delivers electric pulses thought to encourage the incorporation of an adult cell nucleus into an egg cell with its nucleus removed, producing a cloned embryo.

It is very similar to one used by a team in Edinburgh, Scotland to produce the world’s first cloned sheep, Dolly, in 1997 — which is displayed alongside it.

Scott said the scientific community believed serious difficulties with human cloning made it very unlikely that the claims of the Raelians were truthful.

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