Dec. 19--A Canadian cult that has set up a human cloning company said yesterday it will birth the world's first human clone before the end of the month.

The Raelians, a Quebec-based religious sect that believes humans were created by aliens, said the baby girl will be born by Cesarean section at an undisclosed facility. The baby is the genetic replica of an American woman in her 30s who's unable to have kids with her husband naturally, said Dr. Brigitte Boisselier, the director of the cult's cloning company, Clonaid.

Boisselier, who has testified before Congress about the merits of cloning, said her group implanted 10 cloned embryos this spring - five were miscarried and the others are "doing well." She said "it would be nice" if the baby was born Christmas Day.

When asked if they have achieved a human clone, Raelians spokesman Nadine Gary said, "Yes, it's true." But the kooky cult, which wants to set up an embassy for aliens, has not offered any evidence to support its claim that it's performing the highly controversial experiment.

Cloning involves producing a genetic twin from a single cell. The cult, which began offering a cloning machine for sale last spring, was founded in France in 1973 by a man who claimed he was contacted by an alien. The sect claims to have 55,000 members worldwide, and runs the UFOland theme park in Quebec.

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