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

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Towards better anti-cancer drugs: New insights into CDK8, an important human oncogene
28.01.2020 | Universität Bayreuth

nachricht Unique centromere type discovered in the European dodder
28.01.2020 | Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Integrate Micro Chips for electronic Skin

Researchers from Dresden and Osaka present the first fully integrated flexible electronics made of magnetic sensors and organic circuits which opens the path towards the development of electronic skin.

Human skin is a fascinating and multifunctional organ with unique properties originating from its flexible and compliant nature. It allows for interfacing with...

Im Focus: Dresden researchers discover resistance mechanism in aggressive cancer

Protease blocks guardian function against uncontrolled cell division

Researchers of the Carl Gustav Carus University Hospital Dresden at the National Center for Tumor Diseases Dresden (NCT/UCC), together with an international...

Im Focus: New roles found for Huntington's disease protein

Crucial role in synapse formation could be new avenue toward treatment

A Duke University research team has identified a new function of a gene called huntingtin, a mutation of which underlies the progressive neurodegenerative...

Im Focus: A new look at 'strange metals'

For years, a new synthesis method has been developed at TU Wien (Vienna) to unlock the secrets of "strange metals". Now a breakthrough has been achieved. The results have been published in "Science".

Superconductors allow electrical current to flow without any resistance - but only below a certain critical temperature. Many materials have to be cooled down...

Im Focus: Programmable nests for cells

KIT researchers develop novel composites of DNA, silica particles, and carbon nanotubes -- Properties can be tailored to various applications

Using DNA, smallest silica particles, and carbon nanotubes, researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) developed novel programmable materials....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

11th Advanced Battery Power Conference, March 24-25, 2020 in Münster/Germany

16.01.2020 | Event News

Laser Colloquium Hydrogen LKH2: fast and reliable fuel cell manufacturing

15.01.2020 | Event News

„Advanced Battery Power“- Conference, Contributions are welcome!

07.01.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

Towards better anti-cancer drugs: New insights into CDK8, an important human oncogene

28.01.2020 | Life Sciences

Rice lab turns trash into valuable graphene in a flash

28.01.2020 | Materials Sciences

AI can jump-start radiation therapy for cancer patients

28.01.2020 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>