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2001 Italian doctor: I will start cloning humans in November

Rome (Reuters). A controversial Italian doctor intends to become the first of a human tribe. Severino Antinori said he would start cloning humans in November this year. "You can't put barriers to that," he said. According to the Sunday Times, the Italian doctor said he would be forced to work on a boat in international waters, as human cloning is prohibited in most countries of the world.

The Italian doctor said at the beginning of the year that about 1,500 couples from the USA and Italy volunteered to participate in the human cloning experiment. "Cloning will help us put an end to many diseases, give infertile men the opportunity to have children. We should not miss this opportunity," he said.

Antinori said he would raise the issue today with the National Academy of Sciences in Washington. He will also argue in his speech against the blanket ban on human cloning, which was approved by the American House of Representatives last week.

Scientists in the US have criticized the ban on the production of babies cloned from adult cells or the creation of embryos for medical research purposes. They claimed that the threat of imprisonment or a fine to anyone who conducts research in this field will make them leave the US. However, while scientists in the US claim that they should be allowed to clone embryos for medical research purposes, Antinori wants these embryos to grow into humans.

The purpose of medical cloning is to program the human cells and produce new cells to replace the damaged cells or those that cannot regenerate themselves. In contrast, human cloning can theoretically create new humans.

Italy's Medical Commission, a professional control organization that can restrict and even expel its members, supports human experimentation only to prevent or cure disease. The committee started disciplinary proceedings against Antinori last March, when he first announced his plans.

The president of the committee for the district of Rome, Maro Falconi, said yesterday that Antinori risks losing his license to practice medicine in Italy and urged the Italian parliament to pass legislation against human cloning.

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