Originally created 09/07/98

Physicist says he'll clone himself



BOSTON -- A Chicago physicist who provoked controversy earlier this year by announcing plans to clone humans says the first person he will try to copy is himself.

Richard Seed said his wife, Gloria, has agreed to carry an embryo that would be created by combining the nucleus of one of his cells with a donor egg, The Boston Globe reported in its Sunday editions.

Seed declined to give his wife's age, but described her as "post-menopausal." He refused to give details of how the pregnancy would work.

Seed's plan to clone humans drew fire from people who said it was immoral and carries the risk of still births or abnormal fetuses.

"I have decided to clone myself first to defuse the criticism that I'm taking advantage of desperate women with a procedure that's not proven," the 69-year-old said Saturday at a meeting of the Association for Politics and the Life Sciences, a group of academic researchers.

Seed has three Harvard degrees, including a Ph.D., but no medical degree, no money and no institutional backing. Also, California and Michigan have banned human cloning and dozens of other states are considering bans. Mainstream scientists have unofficially agreed to a five-year moratorium on the practice.

Nonetheless, Seed says he has been invited to set up research laboratories in two other countries and that he will move his Human Clone Clinic to Mexico if Congress forbids his research. He also has vowed to produce a pregnancy with a human clone within 2 1/2 years.

Cloning would be the first step in discovering immortality, Seed said Saturday during his talk. He also said he has received hundreds of calls, including from parents of dying children who want to clone them.

People at the conference said cloning could be used to produce a child for an infertile couple, to replace a dead child or to product a child who could donate bone marrow or other vital tissue to a sick family member.