Saturday, January 30, 1999 Published at 04:49 GMT
Nothing wrong with clones says Dawkins
Dolly the sheep: Started the ethical debate
Leading British scientist Richard Dawkins says he accepts the idea of human cloning and would not object to his own daughter being cloned.
In an interview for the BBC World Service, Dr Dawkins, an Oxford University biologist and award-winning science writer, said that the process was "really no different" to twinning.
He said: "If I have somebody that I love, and if there was some particularly good reason to have an identical twin. That's all it is, there's nothing new about it, identical twins are clones.
"Anybody who objects to cloning on principle has to answer to all the identical twins in the world who might be insulted by the thought that there is something offensive about their very existence.
"Clones are simply identical twins."
Dr Dawkins, best known for his book 'The Selfish Gene', said he would be "delighted" if he had a cherished labrador that was cloned.
"The only really deep reason people have for objecting to such a thing is that it just offends some deep-seated sense in people - what has been called the `yuk' reaction.
He also predicted that human cloning could potentially help some childless couples.
Touching on a familiar theme, Dr Dawkins said he believed religious explanations for the meaning of life and the universe were false.
"I'm a scientist primarily concerned with the truth, and in so far as religions teach doctrines about the origins of the universe, where life comes from, why life is the way it is, they are just plain wrong," he said.
The interview is broadcast by the World Service's Agenda programme at 0730 GMT on Sunday.