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Wednesday, January 7, 1998 Published at 19:53 GMT


Scientist ready 'to clone humans'
image: [ Dolly was the first cloned animal ]
Dolly was the first cloned animal

Dr Richard Seed explains and justifies human cloning (Dur 3' 19")
An American scientist says he is ready to begin experiments on human cloning within the next 90 days.

Chicago-based physicist Dr Richard Seed told the BBC he was in touch with women willing to donate unfertilised eggs.

Dr Seed, who has been involved in embryology research for 16 years, wants to help couples unable to have children.

[ image: Seed:
Seed: "We are going to become one with God"
His initiative is likely to renew public debate following the successful cloning of a sheep by scientists at the Roslin Institute in Scotland last year.

This prompted President Clinton to propose a five-year ban on any research on human cloning.

Dr Seed is a relative unknown in the scientific community and describes himself as a "free-standing individual".

He will carry out his controversial experiment with the backing of private clinics in Chicago and says he has the skills and equipment to begin his project within months.

Dr Seed has identified four women in the Chicago area who are willing to donate unfertilised eggs.

[ image: President Clinton proposed five-year research ban]
President Clinton proposed five-year research ban
If successful he wants to offer a similar service in up to 20 other clinics across America.

His technique involves taking an unfertilised egg from the ovary.

The genetic material, or DNA, is extracted and replaced with the nucleus of an adult human cell. Then the egg is implanted in the woman's womb and the resulting embryo is a clone of the person who donated the human cell nucleus.

Dr Seed believes such operations will "contribute seriously to the advancement of human health."

BBC Science Correspondent James Wilkinson: Controversial topic (Dur 2' 03")
Human cloning is simply a matter of science with no ethical problems, he adds.

He told American radio: "We are going to become one with God. We are going to have almost as much knowledge and almost as much power as God.

"Cloning and the reprogramming of DNA is the first serious step in becoming one with God - very simple philosophy."

His claims have met with some scepticism from fellow scientists.

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