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CNN SATURDAY MORNING NEWS

Clonaid Claims of Human Clone Scoffed At By Most Scientist

Aired December 28, 2002 - 07:14   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, most scientists scoff at the claims of success, the scintillating issue of what the Raelians themselves believe has also drawn more than a few snickers. The group behind Clonaid believes in the promise of cloning with a religious fervor. After all, it claims cloning is at the root of mankind, along with extraterrestrial visitors.
CNN's Martin Savidge takes a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIGITTE BOISSELIER, CLONAID CEO: And we call her eve.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If the claim of the world's first human clone caught you a bit off guard, I hope you're sitting down. It is just the tip of a very weird iceberg.

Clonaid was founded by the leader of a religious sect, or cult, depending on your point of view, that believes in cloning, flying saucers, and free love.

Followers call themselves Raelians. This is how they meditate. Their leader, Claude Vorhilon (ph), is a former French journalist who says he was visited by aliens at a volcano in the 1970s. Rael, as he now calls himself, claims the aliens revealed to him that life on earth was created by extraterrestrial scientists through cloning.

The theme of human duplication is prevalent throughout the group's faith. They see it as the key to immortality. Believers hope to one day transfer their minds into a new, identical body.

RAEL, RAELIAN MOVEMENT LEADER: Your memory, your personality. And to download it in a clone of yourself, an (UNINTELLIGIBLE) clone. So in -- that's the secret, the key, toward eternal life.

SAVIDGE: Rael claims to have 55,000 followers the world over who occasionally gather at their own theme park in Canada called UFOLand. Occasionally they also protest against more accepted forms of religion, such as the Catholic Church. The demonstrations, like the believers themselves, are unique.

Unique also describes the head of Clonaid, Brigitte Boisselier, a former chemistry teacher and current Raelian bishop. She referred to the cloned child as Eve.

BOISSELIER: And today it's my day. I'm very, very pleased to announce that the first baby clone is born. SAVIDGE: Eve, as the name implies, may be just the beginning. Clonaid claims four more cloned babies will be born in the coming weeks.

Martin Savidge, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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