Reporting risk: Science journalism and the prospect of human cloning

Stuart Allan, Alison Anderson, Alan Petersen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


‘THE LIVING NIGHTMARE: Sect first baby “clone”’ declared the front page of Britain’s Daily Mirror on 28 December 2002. The lead news item, featuring a photograph of ‘Dr Boisselier’, together with one ostensibly of ‘the embryo of [the] first human clone’ alongside it, reads as follows: A CULT’S claim to have produced the world’s first human clone was branded a ‘living nightmare’ yesterday. The Geneva-based Raelian Movement, which believes mankind was created by aliens, said a ‘healthy’ 7lb cloned baby girl was born by caesarean section to US parents on Boxing Day. But British genetics expert Dr Patrick Dixon said if the claim was true it would prompt ‘revulsion and disgust’. He said: ‘This baby has been born into a living nightmare with a high risk of malformations, ill-health, early death and unimaginably severe emotional pressures. ‘We must not allow this terrible future.’ Scientist Brigitte Boisselier, who heads a bio-research company set up by the Raelians, announced the alleged cloning at a Miami press conference. She produced no evidence of the child, known as Eve, but insisted she would back her claims with independent DNA proof. She said: ‘I am creating life. But I do not want anyone to think that I am playing God.’ Other experts scorned her announcement. Professor Robert Winston said: ‘Nearly all scientists will regard this claim as ludicrous.’ (Richard Wallace, Daily Mirror, 28 December 2002, p. 1).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTrust, Risk and Uncertainty
EditorsSean Watson, Anthony Moran
Place of PublicationUSA
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9780230506039
ISBN (Print)9781403906991
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2005

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