Reuters, Jan. 21, 2003
By Richard Woodman
LONDON (Reuters Health) – The machine said to have been used to produce the first clone of a human being goes on display in London on Wednesday amid continuing concerns of a giant hoax.
Britain’s Science Museum said that following Raelian cult claims in December to have created “Eve,” the daughter of a 31-year-old American, it had secured a loan of one of the “embryonic cell fusion machines” developed by the cult’s scientific arm, Clonaid.
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Dr. Emily Scott, who put together the museum’s “Breakthrough or Hoax” exhibition, told Reuters Health: “It is not the museum’s wish to add anything to Clonaid’s claims. The setting in which we have the machine is quite skeptical.”
She said Clonaid claimed its $9,000 “RMX2010” machine was specially “optimized” for successful cloning but the museum did not have permission to take it apart to see how it differs from other machines used–with very low success rates–by animal cloning scientists.
“Cloning has a poor track record,” the museum added in a statement. “Of the ten types of animal cloned so far, only six have produced live young using the technique that created Dolly the sheep.”
Mammals can be cloned by removing the nucleus from an egg cell and injecting in a nucleus from a normal adult cell. A machine such as the RMX2010 gives an electric shock to the egg, forcing it to fuse with its new DNA contents.
The exhibition explains how to check a would-be clone’s credentials and investigates how a human clone would compare with its DNA donor on looks and personality. Visitors can also see the machine used to create Dolly the sheep.