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Genetic Crossroads
March 31st, 2001

On March 9 fertility doctors Severino Antinori and Panos Zavos held a
one-day event in Rome about their plan to begin cloning human beings.

The Exploratory Initiative on the New Human Genetic Technologies sent
a colleague, researcher/author Peter Shanks, to the conference. A
summary of his observations follows. His full report, "Cloning Group
Shows Their True Colors," is available from Contact us.

"The small group of fertility specialists who hope to clone humans
tried to boost their legitimacy with a `scientific workshop' at a
prestigious clinic in Rome on March 9, but only emphasized their
isolation from mainstream researchers and medical practitioners.

"Few scientists attended. Only two made themselves known in the
audience, which otherwise consisted of some 100 journalists and
cloning advocate Dr. Richard Seed. No serious scientific discussions

"Contradictory and occasionally offensive remarks were frequent.
At one point Antinori pointedly observed that Dr. Mengele, the Nazi
torturer, was a `government doctor' and that this represented an
argument against legislation or regulation.

"It is now clear that Antinori, Zavos, and their colleagues could be
disregarded were they not so dangerous. They are willing to accept
risks that no one else considers remotely acceptable, in an attempt
to do something that most people consider obscene. Yes, they have
between them created a lot of babies. Yes, they may be able to make a
clone, which might or might not be born without significant deformity.
Certainly, they have the determination, probably the technical
expertise, and undoubtedly the complete lack of conscience required
to attempt such a thing.

"There is no better argument for an international ban on human cloning."
--Pete Shanks


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