The testing has been blocked by the parents of the baby, according to Clonaid, the company that made the claim Dec. 27. Clonaid was founded by the Raelian religious sect that believes space aliens created life on Earth, and acknowledges that outside DNA testing would be needed to make their claim credible.
In a statement, Michael Guillen, a former science editor for ABC-TV, said he had assembled experts to do the work but suspended the effort Monday morning. "The team of scientists has had no access to the alleged family and, therefore, cannot verify firsthand the claim that a human baby has been cloned," Guillen said. "In other words, it's still entirely possible Clonaid's announcement is part of an elaborate hoax intended to bring publicity to the Raelian movement."
Guillen indicated he was still willing to proceed. "When and if an opportunity to collect DNA samples as promised does arise, however, the team stands fully prepared to re-mobilize and conduct the necessary tests."
Guillen has said he had no connection to Clonaid. But he said in his statement Monday he has been interested in doing a documentary on human cloning that would involve Clonaid's work and that he's covered the "principal players" in human cloning since the cloning of Dolly the sheep was announced in 1997.
The New York Times reported Sunday that Guillen tried months ago to sell exclusive coverage of Clonaid's first baby to the major broadcast networks.
On Saturday, Clonaid chief executive Brigitte Boisselier said the baby's parents had promised to give her a final answer on Monday about whether they would allow DNA tests. A spokesman for Guillen said his statement was not connected.
Clonaid did not immediately return phone calls requesting a response Monday.