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American scientist: I will clone a person this year

Prof. Panayotis Zevos told the "Boston Globe" that he will start the experiment next month, outside the US; In the scientific community, it is noted that the scientist tends to exaggerate, but his statements are taken seriously

From: Haaretz news agencies

Illustration: Haaretz

An American fertility expert announced yesterday that as early as March he will start trying to clone a person - this was published today in the "Boston Globe" newspaper. The initiator of the experiment, Prof. Panayotis Zevos, says that he and the international team he heads have already selected 10 infertile couples from among "thousands of couples" who will participate in the experiment. According to him, these couples have tried all the available means to deal with infertility. The experiment will not take place in the US, and Zebos refused to tell the newspaper where it will take place.

Zebus' goal is the first successful clone by the end of 2002, but he admits that "there will still be failures". After all, he says, so far no human has ever been cloned. Zevos, who retired a year ago from his position as a professor at the University of Kentucky in the USA, does tend to exaggerate; His professional achievements are not alarming; And he is careful to maintain complete secrecy in all that concerns the cloning operation. However, in the scientific community in the US, his intentions are taken seriously. American cloning experts told the "Boston Globe" that it is likely that Zebus has the technical ability to carry out the cloning.

Zevos' plan provoked sweeping criticism in the global scientific community, not only for reasons of principle, but also following the experience accumulated in the research. This experience shows that cloned animals have a very high chance of having congenital genetic defects, and chronic diseases that cannot be predicted. Yesterday, another study was published in Japan that strengthens the position of those opposed to human cloning, according to which cloned animals have a lower life expectancy than their counterparts born naturally. Moreover, every successful cloning is preceded by hundreds of failed attempts, which may endanger the mother participating in the cloning.

Due to these reasons, most cloning experts focus on trying to extract stem cells from embryos a few days after they have been cloned, for research purposes, rather than creating a complete human being through cloning. However, Zevos rejects the moral and professional criticism leveled at him as "politics", and is determined to realize his plans.

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