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Wednesday, 29 January, 2003, 18:18 GMT
'Cloned baby' said to be in Israel
Claude Vorilhon - the spiritual leader of the Raelian Movement and founder of Clonaid
The Raelian sect believes humans were cloned by aliens
The company which claims to have created the world's first cloned baby has said the child is well, and now living in Israel.

The announcement triggered the collapse of a private legal hearing in the United States.

Representatives of Clonaid told the court in Florida that the baby was in Israel and therefore outside the court's jurisdiction.

You cannot pursue human cloning with impunity

Judge John Frusciante

In the absence of any DNA proof, many scientists have dismissed Clonaid's claim that a baby has been cloned.

The company is funded by the French-based Raelian sect, which believes humans were created by aliens.

The case against the company was brought by Miami lawyer Bernard Siegel, who argues that if Clonaid has actually created a cloned baby, the child should be taken into care for its own welfare.

The court was told that Clonaid no longer had any contact with the parents of the baby, because continued ties with the family would lead to the child's identification and subsequent removal by the authorities.

Clonaid's chief executive, Dr Brigitte Boisselier, testified under oath that the baby, named Eve, was living in Israel.

Warning

Dismissing the case on Wednesday, Circuit Judge John Frusciante warned Clonaid of the implications of cloning.

''You cannot pursue human cloning with impunity,'' he told Dr Boisselier.

"All of us must not overlook the weakest among us.''

In December, Clonaid announced the birth of a baby girl, saying she was cloned from her mother.

The company said the mother was a 31-year-old American, whose husband was infertile.

But Clonaid said that the parents of Baby Eve were reluctant to have the DNA tests, as they could be obliged by law to reveal their identity.

Dr Boisselier has said she implanted five embryo clones, two of which have already been born.

The claims have been widely dismissed in the scientific community as a publicity stunt.

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 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Fergal Parkinson
"This is the first time that anyone from Clonaid has admitted under oath that the child exists"
Human reproductive cloning

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06 Jan 03 | Health
05 Jan 03 | Health
28 Dec 02 | Health
28 Dec 02 | Technology
25 Oct 01 | Science/Nature
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