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Clonaid claims 2nd cloned human has been born to Dutch lesbian coupleJan. 4, 2003
Provided by: Canadian Press

AMSTERDAM (CP) - Clonaid, the company that claims to have produced the first human clone, said Saturday it has produced a second one - a girl born to a Dutch lesbian. Neither baby has been confirmed to be a clone by genetic testing, and mainstream scientists are skeptical of the company's claims.

Clonaid spokeswoman Nadine Gary said in a telephone interview that the child was born Friday night, but declined to say where. Clonaid vice-president Thomas Kaenzig said the baby is a girl whose parents are two Dutch women.

"It's a homosexual couple, a lesbian couple from Holland. The baby's doing fine. They're very happy and excited about it, and so are we," Kaenzig told Associated Press Radio, speaking from an undisclosed location in the Dominican Republic.

Gary said she expects the second baby will have genetic testing to show it is a clone, with DNA identical to that of its mother.

The group made a similar promise about Eve, a cloned girl purportedly born to U.S. parents on Dec. 26. But Clonaid now says the parents of that baby are balking at testing.

Brigitte Boisselier, Clonaid's chief executive and top scientist, told The Associated Press Television News on Saturday that the parents have promised to tell her Monday whether they will allow DNA testing to confirm the claim.

The second baby's name has not been revealed. In television interviews, Boisselier has said the parents of the second baby want to remain anonymous.

Although the parents are Dutch, the birth did not take place in the Netherlands, where cloning is illegal, said Gary. "The parents have Dutch nationality, but they are not in Holland."

Boisselier is a member of the Raelians, a Quebec-based sect that believes beings from outer space created life on Earth.

In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration has launched an investigation into the cloning claims.

And in Miami, a lawyer has asked a court to turn Eve over to state care if it were to find the baby's health was in danger.

Though Clonaid has kept secret the baby's whereabouts, the company held its news conference in Hollywood, Fla., to announce the birth of the baby. Lawyer Bernard Siegel said that could give the court jurisdiction.

Claude Vorilhon, head of the Raelian movement who calls himself Rael, blasted the lawyer Saturday.

"This lawyer is neither a good lawyer nor a scientist, he is just trying to get some media attention by doing this," Rael said in a statement.

"He is saying this child has been exploited, while (the child) has been protected and never shown. If the child had been exhibited on every television screen, (Siegel) could then say (the child) has been exploited. The secretive way chosen by the parents proves the contrary."

Scientists have successfully cloned mammals such as pigs and sheep, but the technology is not reliable and most scientists say it is difficult, unethical and risky to attempt to clone humans.

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