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American-Italian Team Says It Will Begin Cloning Effort

Genetic Crossroads
February 21st, 2001


Severino Antinori and Panayiotos Zavos, the Italian and US researchers
who say they are about to begin to clone human children, will hold a
press conference and a "scientific meeting" in Rome on March 9. They
claim that they will then establish ethical guidelines for human cloning,
although they have already announced their decision to go ahead. Antinori
and Zavos argue that they are "responsible" cloners whose work will
prevent others who may "indiscriminately" attempt to "clone themselves."

Public sentiment is overwhelmingly opposed to human cloning, and many
observers have pointed to the high incidence of serious abnormalities
in cloned animals. Even some supporters of human cloning have criticized
Antinori's and Zavos' project, which they view as premature and likely
to instigate an anti-cloning backlash.

Antinori, who has run a fertility clinic in Rome since 1985, gained
notoriety for achieving pregnancies in women up to 62 years old, and
for producing a baby using sperm that he had matured in material
derived from rats' testicles--a method described as "totally unethical,
premature and scientifically dangerous." Zavos, a professor in the
Department of Animal Sciences at the University of Kentucky, runs an
IVF clinic that has never reported its results.


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