The scientific director for the Raelian religion, which believes
humans are clones of extraterrestrial scientists and that human
is the key to eternal life, said the group has begun work to
10-month-old American girl who died earlier this year. The Sunday
reports that the "project is being carried out in a secret
Nevada, and the "scientists involved hope their baby will
be born towards
the end of next year" (Lois Rogers,"`Aliens' cult
about to clone dead
baby girl," Sunday Times, London, 11/5/00, <http://www.timesonline.co.uk/>).
The Raelians have announced that an anonymous US couple has
human cloning company, Clonaid, more than $1 million to clone
daughter from preserved cells. The group claims to be working
qualified scientists and 50 female volunteers who will act as
and surrogates for the clone. The Clonaid web site states, "This
offers a fantastic opportunity to parents with fertility problems
homosexuals," and promises to drop its charge for "cloning
"as low as $200,000." See <www.clonaid.com>.
The Rael religion claims 55,000 members in 84 countries (<www.rael.org>),
and has raised millions of dollars for other projects, including
to build an embassy near Jerusalem for the extraterrestrials.
Coverage of the Raelian cloning announcement in the Washington
highlighted assertions by scientists including Lee Silver (Princeton
University) and Michael West (Advanced Cell Technology) who
producing a cloned human is technically feasible. According
Seidel, a "cloning expert" at Colorado State University
in Fort Collins,
"It's a numbers game. It's very likely that if you did
it enough times
you could make it work" (Rick Weiss, "Human Cloning's
Other reports focused on scientists who have strongly criticized
project. Ian Wilmut, for example, condemned it as "absolutely
(Rogers, Sunday Times).
Whether or not the Raelians are in fact able to create a cloned
their claims represent an important challenge to US policy makers
to the American public. If a cloned child were to be created,
of human genetic manipulation should take the event as a catalyst
action. In any case, a ban on human reproductive cloning is
priority in the effort to avert a techno-eugenic future.