Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Cloned baby in the dark

09.04.2002


Rumour and secrecy hampers response to report of human clone.



A dearth of information surrounding claims that a woman is pregnant with the first cloned baby is stifling informed scientific judgement or debate. Second-hand reports and rumours highlight a factual vacuum under which a controversial cloning project is proceeding.

Last week, fertility doctor Severino Antinori revealed to Gulf News journalist Kavitha Davies that one of his patients is eight weeks pregnant with a cloned embryo. Since then, his clinic and that of his collaborator Panos Zavos at the Andrology Institute of America in Lexington, Kentucky, have refused to confirm or deny the report to the majority of the world’s media.


But Giancarlo Calzolari of Italian newspaper Il Tempo reports that Antinori confirmed the pregnancy to him. Calzolari told Britain’s Daily Telegraph that the procedure was carried out in a Muslim country and that Antinori has sufficient funds to achieve his goal.

Such inconsistencies are typical of the information available on Antinori and Zavos’ contentious programme to clone a human embryo, which they announced last year. How they recruit women to their programme, where the procedures are carried out, and how the plan is funded remain shrouded in mystery.

Without scientific data or publications, scientists are unable to judge the authority of Antinori’s assertions. However, the community widely condemns attempts to carry out cloning for reproductive purposes, because of potential health risks to the embryo.

"They see it as harmful to the promise of their work in biomedicine," says Tony Perry of Advanced Cell Technologies, a biotechnology company based in Worcester, Massachusetts. Last year, the company announced that it had cloned human embryos to the six-cell stage, but with the aim of creating disease treatments.

What Antinori has attempted or achieved is ambiguous. The technique used to transfer nuclei from an adult cell to an egg stripped of its own DNA is difficult to carry out, even for those with experience, explains Perry. "I am still unaware of a single report by either Zavos or Antinori on nuclear transfer in any species, let alone to produce offspring," he says.

The furore began at a conference in the United Arab Emirates organized by an intellectual body called the Zayed Centre for Coordination and Follow-up. At the meeting, Antinori spoke generally about his aims and arguments for human cloning for infertile couples.

Antinori revealed that cloning programmes are under way in China and Russia, says Davies, but only spoke of the pregnancy after the meeting, when she questioned him directly. Members of the public, officials and scientists attended the meeting, but no international cloning experts were present.

Human reproductive cloning is banned in the United Kingdom and many other countries. Like a scientific outlaw, this leaves Antinori to pursue his controversial goals in countries that lack such legislation.

HELEN PEARSON | © Nature News Service

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

Im Focus: Bacteria harness the lotus effect to protect themselves

Biofilms: Researchers find the causes of water-repelling properties

Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

Innovation 4.0: Shaping a humane fourth industrial revolution

17.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supercomputing helps researchers understand Earth's interior

23.05.2017 | Earth Sciences

Study identifies RNA molecule that shields breast cancer stem cells from immune system

23.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

23.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>