Scientist Claims Implanting Cloned Cells in Woman

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A Kentucky fertility specialist said Saturday he had implanted a cloned human embryo in a 35-year-old woman -- a claim met with skepticism by many scientists.

Dr. Panos Zavos (search) said it was too early to say whether the woman would become pregnant and give birth to a cloned baby.

British Health Secretary John Reid said attempting to create a cloned baby was illegal in Britain and a "gross misuse of genetic science."

A spokesman for Britain's Royal Society (search) said the scientists' group was "extremely skeptical." Wolff Reik, a cloning expert at the Babraham Institute (search) in Cambridge, called the attempt to clone a human irresponsible.

Zavos, a reproductive physiologist based in Lexington, Ky., is not the first to make such a claim. He did not provide any evidence to back it up and would not say where the procedure was done, although he said it was not in Britain, Europe or the United States.

At a press conference here, Zavos said the procedure was similar to the technology that created Dolly (search) the sheep, the first mammal cloned from an adult cell. He said it used skin cells from the woman's husband and one of her eggs to create an embryo that was implanted into the woman's womb.