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Archive for Friday, July 26, 2002

Reported cloning investigated

July 26, 2002

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— The South Korean government said Thursday it was investigating a claim that a U.S.-based firm had implanted a cloned embryo in a Korean woman.

Kwak Ji-hwa, a spokesman for the U.S.-based Clonaid's South Korean branch office, said the woman was two months pregnant with the cloned embryo and that he was confident she would give birth to a healthy baby.

"Everything is fine with her and her baby so far, and I don't see any problems with them in the future," he told The Associated Press.

Kwak said he was not concerned about the South Korean government investigation, because the implant was done outside South Korea and that South Korea had no laws that ban human cloning. An anti-human cloning law is now before the National Assembly for approval.

It was the latest unsubstantiated claim of a cloned fetus. In April, an Italian fertility physician, Dr. Severino Antinori, claimed three women were pregnant with clones, but he refused to offer proof. He told an Italian television program that two of the pregnancies were achieved in former Soviet states.

The Korean implant, according to Kwak, was arranged through BioFusion Tech, a South Korean firm based in the southeastern city of Daegu, under agreement with Clonaid. The U.S. firm was founded by a religious cult, the Raelian Movement, which believes life on Earth was created by clones of extraterrestrials.

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