the British Conspiracy
Prof. Dr. Panayiotis Zavos, Ed.S., Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus of Reproductive Physiology & Andrology,
University of Kentucky (current CV:
Andrology Institute of America (http://www.aia-zavos.com);
Associate Director, Kentucky Center for Reproductive
Medicine & IVF; Founder of the Zavos Organization,
www.zavos.org and E-mail:
has recently come to our attention that, in a letter
dated January 21, 2004, members of the British scientific
community, as well as, the Human Fertilization and
Embryology Authority (HFEA) made a request to News
Editors in the UK not to give press coverage to our
cloning efforts and to "reconsider the prominence
given to repeated claims by certain scientists that
they have cloned a human being, including those made
by Dr. Panos Zavos last weekend". The signatories
of this letter include: Prof Richard Gardner( FRS
- Chair, Royal Society Working Group on Stem Cell
Research and Cloning), Prof Cohn Blakemore (Chief
Executive, Medical Research Council), Prof Julia Goodfellow
( Chief Executive, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences
Research Council), Lord May of Oxford (President,
Royal Society), Prof Robert Winston (Imperial College),
Dr Simon Fishel (Director, Centres for Assisted Reproduction),
Suzi Leather (Chair, HFEA), Prof Chris Higgins (Director,
MRC Clinical Sciences Centre), Prof Alison Murdoch
(Chair, British Fertility Society), Dr Wolf Reik (Head,
Developmental Genetics Programme, Babraham Institute),
Prof Robin Lovell-Badge (Head of Genetics, MRC National
Institute for Medical Research), Dr Harry Griffin
(Deputy Director, Roslin Institute) and Dr Sue Avery
(Chair, Association of Clinical Embryologists). This
letter, as well as, the accompanied press releases
may be viewed at
my most recent press conference in London, UK on August
31, 2004, I made an effort in responding to the false
claims made by the Human Fertilization and Embryology
Authority (HFEA) and these other scientists regarding
my very own personal track record and my scientific
accomplishments. I would like to address these false
claims one by one.
"...none of those involved have produced a
shred of evidence to substantiate their assertions"
is shocking to all of us at Repromed International
that these individuals can call themselves scientists
and not be aware of the scientific accomplishments
nor are they current with the latest publications
and scientific presentations made by our scientific
team. If they had done any "homework"
at all on their part, they would have been aware
of our publications, which include the following:
Human reproductive cloning: the time is near.
Reproductive BioMedicine Online 6, 397–398,
Illmensee K.: Development of bioassays using the
bovine model to measure the efficiency of SCNT
in humans. The 59th Annual Meeting of the American
Society for Reproductive Medicine, San Antonio,
Texas, October 11-15, 2003.
Illmensee K.: Human somatic cell nuclear transfer
into enucleated bovine oocytes: a potential bioassay.
The 19th Annual Meeting for the Society of Reproductive
Medicine and Endocrinology, Bregenz, October 17-18,
K: Cloning: Chance and risk. The 5th World Conference
of the International Association of Private Assisted
Reproductive Technology Clinics and Laboratories
(A-PART), Shibuya, Tokyo, October 23-25, 2003.
K., Zavos PM: Development
of an interspecies-specific bioassay using the
bovine oocyte model to evaluate the potential
of SCNT in humans. The 10th Annual Meeting of
the Middle East Fertility Society, Beirut, December
K, Levanduski M, Zavos PM:
Development of an interspecies-specific bioassay
using the bovine oocyte model to evaluate the
potential of SCNT in humans. Journal of Assisted
Reproduction and Genetics, 2004 (Accepted but
withdrawn and re-submitted).
Illmensee K: First Embryo Transfer of a Cloned
Human Embryo. Reproductive BioMedicine Online
(Currently under journal peer-review).
Illmensee K: Human Reproductive Cloning: The Post
Mortem Effort. (Currently in preparation).
find it very hard to believe that these "British
scientists" were not aware of any of these
papers and reports prior to signing this letter
under false pretensions that we have not provided
any proof about our work in the past. I can only
but come to the conclusion that they are deliberately
trying to mislead the public and the news media
and misrepresent the facts!
"reconsider the prominence given to repeated
claims by certain scientists that they have cloned
a human being, including those made by Dr Panos
Zavos last weekend"
nor anyone from our team of experts, have ever claimed
to have cloned a human being. During the press conference
that was given on January 17, 2004 in London, I
announced that "We transferred the first cloned
embryo into a 35-year-old woman. Since it has not
been two weeks since we transferred the embryo,
we are waiting for the results of the pregnancy".
No cloned human was conceived or born. How could
anyone that is serious enough, think for a moment
of making such statement, unless their next of kin
are the Raelian Group that can make such statement
with no basis upon which they can not show any proof?
"By ignoring the well-established processes
for scrutinizing new scientific developments in
favour of making unvalidated announcements directly
to the media, these individuals have shown that
they are more interested in publicity than advancing
"prominent" scientists are the ones who
have ignored well established processes for scrutinizing
new scientific developments, in that they have failed
to review our work that has been published in a
peer-reviewed British scientific journal that is
moderated by the highly respected Professor Robert
Edwards, who created the world’s first test-tube
baby. Furthermore, we have and continue to present
our work at international scientific meetings all
over the world and which include, the American Society
for Reproductive Medicine, the Middle East Fertility
Society, the Society of Reproductive Medicine and
Endocrinology and The 5th World Conference of the
International Association of Private Assisted Reproductive
Technology Clinics and Laboratories (A-PART). The
proceedings of these International Conferences were
published in the form of scientific abstracts and
in English for anyone that cares and wishes to review.
"Dr Zavos came here exclusively to get publicity.
As with previous similar media announcements, he
was richly rewarded, leading almost every news bulletin
on television and radio throughout the day."
have held press conferences regarding cutting edge
technologies that we are developing in the field
of cloning and somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT)
and I do have all intentions of doing so in the
future. I feel that these new advances should be
made public in order to better inform the public
of the current status of these technologies. After
all, the British Medical Association has stated
that "public hostility to human reproductive
cloning may be based on an illogical transient fear
of a new technology". I willingly bear the
responsibility to inform and educate the public
in what we are doing, so that they can better understand
the technology and decide for themselves whether
they are for or against reproductive cloning. It
is a legitimate contribution to a legitimate and
I have received news coverage, it is only because
there is a demand and a thirst for information in
this field by the public. This indicates that the
public does want to know what is happening and what
strides are being made in this field. I have and
continue to receive inquiries for participation
at International forums and gatherings to present
our data and this goes to show that our work is
important and the public and the scientific societies
throughout the World desire and wish to hear us
present our results.
"We fear that the disproportionate coverage
given to these stories convey the impression that
fertility scientists in general are engaged in the
race to clone the first human. In fact the opposite
is the case. Mainstream fertility experts are united
in their opposition to this work and Parliament
has banned reproductive cloning in the UK."
is frightening here is the fact that these "prominent"
British scientists wish to dictate to the World
as to what the free media can and can not cover
because they worry about a "disproportionate
coverage" of the subject that they do not find
palatable and they ethically and morally do not
agree. What a pity!! Furthermore, I, along with
our team of experts in the field of reproductive
medicine and science are aware of all the laws of
all countries regarding any of the actions that
we initiate and carry out. It is of utmost importance
that these "prominent" British scientists
should understand that mainstream fertility scientists
are not limited only to the United Kingdom and that
the laws of Parliament are not applicable worldwide.
There are numerous scientific groups worldwide comprised
of excellent scientists who are currently involved
in the development and refining of technologies
in somatic cell nuclear transfer and other similar
technologies. This is not a race to clone the first
human being. I have said on numerous occasions that
it is more important for us to do this right than
to claim to be the first ones to clone a human being.
We are either going to do it right or not do it
"We welcome the fact that the media has given
time and space to scientists to rebut these claims
and all of the signatories to this letter have made
themselves available to the media on previous occasions
to assure the public that this is bad science done
by discredited scientists."
with any scientific debate, we welcome the comments
of our peers and to express their opinions and to
have a healthy exchange of ideas. However, it is
very apparent that the signatories to this letter
have not done their due diligence in researching
the facts before they give an opinion to the media.
Instead, they give a comment based on their own
personal opinion rather than one based on facts
and the research that currently exists. As you may
know, I have debated some of those "prominent"
British scientists at various locations in this
World but the clear majority do not believe in debates
but monologues (http://www.zavos.org/library/Sunday%20Herald-Debate%20not%20monologue.htm).
What an irony!!
also take great offence to being called a "
discredited scientist" and that I am involved
in "bad science". I personally have published
hundreds of scientific publications in various peer-reviewed
journals, as well as, having overseen many research
projects all over the world in my last 26 long years
of my active involvement in reproductive medicine
I have also taught many graduate students that have
progressed to succeed in their own right. I have
personally initiated new technologies in the field
of reproductive medicine and I continue to do so.
I personally own four US patents (http://www.zavos.org/library/library_patents.htm)
and have developed and continue to strive to pioneer
new technologies every day and to make this world
a better place for all human kind (http://www.zavos.org/library/library_firsts.htm).
I would like to know what these "scientists"
call bad science and who exactly has "discredited"
me. I am an active member of various academic and
professional societies and am considered an expert
in my field by my peers. Being discredited would
imply that I have been cast out from the scientific
community which is a gross misrepresentation. They
should be ashamed of themselves for making such
false and inaccurate statements.
"Yet despite the lack of evidence forthcoming
on each occasion, we are still expected to respond
each time a bogus claim is made."
again, the "lack of evidence" is solely
due to these scientists failing to do their homework
and keeping up with the facts and published information.
Had these scientists taken the time to review the
scientific literature and stay current with the
latest publications and scientific presentations,
they would have been aware of our publications and
reports. We have published and continue to publish
in peer-reviewed scientific journals! It appears
that these "leading British scientists"
either do not do their due diligence by reading
and getting informed before they offer an opinion
or, even worse, they choose to lie and misrepresent
the facts as they have done systematically well
in the released letter. Why should they speak the
personally take offense to the term "bogus
claims". Our claims are not bogus and our achievements
are well documented. As a dedicated and true scientist,
I have never made a "bogus" claim in my
life and in my professional career of more than
a quarter of a century. My work and that of those
that I am involved in and with, have always been
scientifically sound and have been subject to Institutional
Review Board approval, throughout those years and
we do not intend to change it now. We do not go
ahead and do science in a haphazard fashion. For
our work to be presented at the American Society
for Reproductive Medicine annual meetings, in San
Antonio, Texas, is nothing else but evidence that
our work is credible and worth being presented at
the most elite group of reproductive medicine experts
in the World, today. That is not evidence that we
presented "bogus claims" at these meetings
or similarly at other scientific gatherings. As
further proof, we have also permitted a documentary
team to follow our work every step of the way, periodically
reporting to the world the real and honest results
of our efforts. This team from Peter Williams Television,
a British group, is the very same team that documented
the birth of the first ever in vitro fertilization
(IVF) baby in the world, Louise Brown, 26 years
ago, and of the first IVF baby in the United States,
Elizabeth Jordan Carr. We are delighted to have
a British group documenting the facts through the
eyes of their cameras. Are these "leading British
scientists" willing to do the same?
scientists and representatives of the HFEA have chosen
to appeal secretly to newspaper editors not to give
coverage to the important work that we are doing.
This is an underhanded effort to undermine the freedom
of speech and freedom of expression.
British Establishment may believe that they can get
away with this underhanded attack and conspiracy on
my professional integrity and that of our team. In
the United States, such a letter would have been against
the very basis of our own US constitution. Britain
is known as the home of fairness and freedom of speech.
The signatories to such letter should be ashamed at
what they had done, what the represent and, more importantly,
in the way in which they had done it. If they were
so confident in their views, why did they not send
a copy of this letter directly to me as well, since
the letter was labeled as an "Open Letter"
and I was cited in this correspondence by name.
is this underhanded secretive behavior that makes
one ask the following question. Since these scientists
want to exert their influence on the news media and
to prevent the free dissemination of information to
the public that has the right to know, could they
also exert the same type of influence on scientific
journals and their editors not to publish work that
has been carried out by our scientific group? Is it
coincidental that, after the press conference that
I gave in London on August 31, 2004, the editor of
the Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics
(JARG), Norbert Gleicher decided on his own not to
allow the publication of a scientific paper of ours,
after it had undergone critical peer-review and was
accepted for publication and at the time of the press
conference, was already in press? The rationale given
by JARG was that I had disclosed to the public the
content of the scientific paper, when in fact, all
I had done was to refer to the article as an example
in setting the record straight that we do publish
in peer-reviewed journals. It is very clear to us
that the decision by Gleicher has been purely political
and we do not rule out the influence or pressure that
other "scientists" may have placed on the
Journal and Gleicher himself. Is this an attempt to
silence us and the work that we are doing? Who is
playing God here? Although I have sometimes been accused
of "playing God", I have never stooped to
these levels of underhandedly trying to suppress the
freedom of speech of others.
is very sad to see science being manipulated in the
way that it has by these so-called ethical and righteous
"British scientists". We will continue to
make the strides that we are, in all our endeavors
and will continue to keep the public and the scientific
community informed about our efforts in a responsible
and logical way. This is what our conscious dictates
to us and this is what we will do.
See the latest publication in Sunday Herald of Scotland
NOTE TO ALL INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENTS:
reviewing this letter you may publish it in its entirety
in your publication or if you wish to be granted a
personal interview by Professor Zavos to further clarify
these issues addressed in this letter you may send
us an e-mail (email@example.com)
to place your interview request. Thank you.
Reproductive Cloning: The Time is Near (Panayiotis
Zavos; RBM Online, 2003)
scientific discussion of human reproductive cloning
(Joe Leigh Simpson; RBM Online, 2003)