NEW YORK – The freelance TV journalist who offered to set up DNA testing to prove the first human clone said Wednesday he regretted putting himself in a position that made people wonder if he'd "flipped out."
Michael Guillen, a former ABC News science editor, said his "one error of judgment" was to take the podium at the Florida news conference with Clonaid chief executive Brigitte Boisselier when she announced the birth of the first human clone.
Clonaid was founded by the Raelian religious sect, which believes space alien scientists created life on Earth, and Boisselier is a Raelian bishop. The group's claim was dismissed by many scientists and viewed with skepticism by others.
In one of his first interviews since then, Guillen said, "That visual image of my standing side-by-side with Boisselier encouraged people to wonder: What's his association with Clonaid? Has he gone to the dark side? What's happened to Guillen, has he flipped out?"
He said he was goaded to step up to the podium by other reporters when Boisselier pointed to him as the person who would arrange for expert testing. His offer, he said, "seemed like such a small thing, and then it turned into this huge deal."
Clonaid has never identified the parents of the baby, which they said was a clone of her mother. Boisselier says the parents have refused DNA testing.
So was the first human clone born last month or not? Guillen, who holds a Ph.D. in physics and has taught at Harvard, said he thinks "there's a small possibility that they may have pulled off what they say."
He had issued a statement Monday suggesting that the claim could be "an elaborate hoax."