The Zavos Organization

 

 

Date: 10 March 2001

HUMAN  CLONING  TO  BEGIN  "WITHIN  WEEKS"

ngin comment:  It cannot be coincidence that the British decision to allow human embryos to be
cloned was followed so closely by the announcement of this project. Two reports on the cloning criminals who are operating in a culture of bio-biz and bio-hype:
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Hundreds Volunteer for Clones, Scientists Say
By  Jane Barrett ROME (Reuters) - Hundreds of couples have  volunteered for an experiment to create the first cloned  children despite strong religious and scientific  opposition, a team of scientists said Friday. Since the  international team said in January it would work to produce
 the first human clone, between 600 and 700 couples have put  themselves forward and the number is rising rapidly, U.S.

Doctor Panayiotis Zavos said. "Interest has come from all  over, from Japan to Argentina, from Germany to Britain," he  told reporters after saying his team was ready to start  cloning in the next few weeks, principally to help  infertile couples bear children. "Being infertile is like a  stop sign. You face the deficiency and ask God 'Why me? Why  do I have to go and get sperm cells from someone else in  order to have a child?"' he said after a cloning conference  at a Rome university hospital. And he deflected mounting  criticism of his plans, saying people would eventually get
 over opposition to human cloning.

"Historically this is  normal but once the first baby is born and it cries, the  world will embrace it," he said. "Now that we have crossed into the third millennium, we have the technology to break
 the rules of nature."

 But the proposal has come under fire from mainstream scientists and religious groups. Friday, Father Gino Concetti, a moral theologian whose views are thought to reflect those of Pope John Paul, reiterated the Vatican's stance. "These proposals contradict the truth of mankind, man's dignity, man's rights ... especially the right to be conceived in the human way," Concetti told Reuters.

Italian team member Severino Antinori, who gained notoriety by helping a 62-year-old woman give birth, also sought to dispel the flood of disapproval. "Cloning may be considered
 as the last frontier to overcome male sterility and give the possibility to infertile males to pass on their genetic pattern," he told a packed auditorium of scientists and journalists. "Some people say we are going to clone the world, but this isn't true... I'm asking all of us to be prudent and calm. We're talking science, we're not here to create a fuss."

WAVE OF OPPOSITION Bishop Elio Sgreccia, head of the John Paul II Institute for Bioethics at Rome's Gemelli hospital, said human cloning raised profoundly disturbing ethical issues. "Those who made the atomic bomb went ahead in spite of knowing about its terrible destruction," he told Reuters Television before the cloning meeting started. "But this doesn't mean that it was the best choice for humanity."

  "The forecasts (about human cloning) sadden us but don't scare us," he said, adding it would be a betrayal if the Roman Catholic Church's voice was not heard in the debate.

Scientists have also slammed the plan. A director of Rome's La Sapienza university wrote a letter disapproving of the cloning conference being held in one of its halls.  "I consider it disgraceful... and I dissociate myself from the meeting," Professor Ermelando Cosmi wrote.

Scientists have warned that 97 percent of animal cloning attempts have been unsuccessful and that those embryos which survive to birth are often deformed. Dr. Ian Wilmut, who created  Dolly, the world's first cloned sheep, said it had taken 277 attempts to get it right. Zavos said that might not be the case with humans, firstly because they were a different species and secondly because the embryos would be scrutinized for any deformity.

The team said they would start work within weeks but would not say where they will set up their cloning laboratory for security reasons. When the team announced their plans in January, they said they would work in a Mediterranean country. Zanos added they had "unlimited funds" from private donors but again would not elaborate. "We have plenty of money, I can assure you.

There are no financial restrictions," he said.

GOVERNMENT IN OR OUT?
Zavos said he was determined governments should develop further legislation on human cloning to keep it under control but at the same time said his experiments should not be subject to government scrutiny. "We don't want the government involved in this project," he said.

"This is a high-tech, serious project and we're not going to bring in the technocrats if they are not needed."

Last year, Britain proposed allowing human cells to be cloned for research purposes while other European countries including Spain and France have banned human cloning altogether. Predominantly Roman Catholic Italy has looked into the therapeutic cloning of stem cells in order to combat degenerative diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimers. "The genie is out of the bottle. We need to make sure it is bottled and disseminated responsibly," Zavos said.
 [Entered March 09, 2001]
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U.S., Italian Experts Plan to Clone Humans By  Jane Barrett ROME (Reuters)

Scientists from the United States and Italy said on Friday they planned to create the first cloned human beings, despite religious outrage and opposition from many scientists. American Panayiotis Zavos and Italian Severino Antinori, who has already gained notoriety by helping a 62-year-old woman give birth, said they wanted to clone babies to help infertile couples have children. "Cloning may be considered as the last frontier to overcome male sterility and give the possibility to
 infertile males to pass on their genetic pattern," Antinori told a packed auditorium of scientists and journalists.

 "Some people say we are going to clone the world, but this isn't true... I'm asking all of us in the scientific community to be prudent and calm," he said. "We're talking science, we're not here to create a fuss."

 Antinori and Zavos, a reproductive scientist based in Kentucky who runs companies working on genetics and cloning, say 10 infertile couples have volunteered to participate in the experiment to produce cloned infants.

The plan has come under heavy fire from mainstream scientists and religious groups, with the Vatican describing their proposals as "grotesque."

  Bishop Elio Sgreccia, head of the John Paul II Institute for Bioethics at Rome's Gemelli hospital, said human cloning raised profoundly disturbing ethical issues. "Those who made the atomic bomb went ahead in spite of knowing about its terrible destruction," he told Reuters Television before the cloning meeting started. "But this doesn't mean that it was the best choice for humanity."

"The forecasts (about human cloning) sadden us but don't scare us," he said, adding it would be a betrayal if the Roman Catholic Church's voice was not heard in the debate.

 DIVIDING CELLS

The scientists have said they will conduct  the experiment in an unidentified Mediterranean country in  order to try to escape the mounting flak, and since several  countries already have banned human cloning research. Dr Ian Wilmut, who created Dolly, the world's first cloned sheep, said it took 277 tries to get it right. Other cloning attempts have ended in malformed animals and
experts say the technique fails in 97 percent of cases.

  Last year, Britain proposed allowing human cells to be cloned for research purposes while other European countries, including Spain and France have banned human cloning altogether. Zavos told a conference in January that he and Antinori would use regular cells or undifferentiated stem cells from a man and insert them into an ovacyte, a  woman's egg stripped of its genetic material. Zavos said the cell would be stimulated to divide and create an embryo equipped with all the specialty cells which make up a copy of the man, and then implanted in the woman's uterus. The
 woman could also be the one cloned, he said, depending on a couple's choice. "It's not the easiest thing," he told the scientific conference in January. "The stability of the genetic information is what's important. We're cloning a human being now, we're not trying to create a Dolly. You don't want to create a monster."


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