FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Clonaid, the company that claims to have produced the first human clone, said Wednesday that a third cloned child had been born to a Japanese couple.
The announcement came during a hearing on whether the first baby -- whose existence has not been verified by independent scientists -- should have a court-appointed guardian.
Clonaid spokeswoman Nadine Gary later said the group's president, Brigitte Boisselier, would hold a new conference Thursday in Toronto to talk about the latest births, that of the Japanese boy and a girl born to a Dutch lesbian Jan. 3.
In Japan, a spokeswoman for the Japan Raelian Movement said Thursday that the Japanese baby is a clone of a 2-year-old boy who died in an accident 18 months ago. An Asian woman -- not of Japanese nationality -- served as the surrogate, she said.
The company has not provided any proof that the babies are clones. Clonaid was founded by the leader of the Raelians, a sect that believes aliens created life on Earth.
Clonaid has said five clones are expected to be born by Feb. 5. In late December, Clonaid said the first clone, a girl nicknamed Baby Eve by the company, had been born to U.S. parents on Dec. 26. Clonaid promised DNA tests to prove the baby is a clone, but later said the parents had balked.
The court hearing was scheduled after Miami attorney Bernard Siegel filed a petition seeking a guardian for Eve, saying he wanted to protect the interest of the child.
Testifying by telephone from his home in Las Vegas, company Vice President Thomas Kaenzig said Clonaid is not an incorporated company and the only other Clonaid official he knows is the president who announced Eve's birth.
Kaenzig's lawyers have argued he has no knowledge of the location of Eve or the mother. Circuit Judge John Frusciante got little help from Kaenzig in his attempt to locate Eve and he ordered the executive to come to court next week for further questioning.