Reuters, Jan. 4, 2003
By Eric Onstad
Amsterdam, Jan. 4 (Reuters): A cult said today the world’s second cloned baby had been born to a Dutch lesbian, but cloning experts swiftly dismissed the claim as a laughable stunt.
“A baby girl was born yesterday evening. The baby is healthy and the mother too,” Bart Overvliet, head of the Raelian movement’s branch in the Netherlands, said over telephone.
The woman is now in the Netherlands with her partner.
“I don’t know where it was born, but they are in Holland now. The birth could be at home, but it could be in another country in a clinic,” he said.
But Harry Griffin, head of Britain’s Roslin Institute, which cloned the first adult mammal, Dolly the sheep, in 1996, said the group had provided no proof that two cloned babies existed.
“There is no reason to believe this is anything other than a long drawn-out publicity stunt,” he said.
Overvliet said the child was created by Clonaid, the cloning firm that said it had organised the birth of the first human clone, named Eve, to a 31-year-old American on December 26.
“The baby is in good health and it was born by a natural birth,” US Clonaid spokeswoman Nadine Gray said.
Clonaid’s initial claim sparked widespread scepticism among scientific experts, and the company has yet to provide DNA samples or other evidence to support its assertions.
Netherlands but nothing in the law forbids the birth of a cloned baby, a spokesman for the Dutch health ministry said.