Cult leader halts tests on baby Eve

The head of the Raelian sect, which claims to have created a human clone, says he has ordered the halt of planned DNA tests on the baby that would establish the veracity of the claims.

Claude Vorilhon, who has assumed the name Rael, told CNN late on Friday that he had stopped the test because of planned legal proceedings in a Florida court to get the baby placed under court protection.

According to CNN, Vorilhon asked the network to address him as "his holiness" during the interview.

The Raelians have been under international scrutiny since a company it formed, Clonaid, announced last week that a baby cloned from her mother and nicknamed "Eve", had been born, but gave no proof to back its claims.

Vorilhon said he had called the head of Clonaid, French scientist Brigitte Boisselier, to ask that promised DNA tests be halted.

The tests were to be organised by a US journalist, Michael Guillen, and the results released early next week.

"The bad news two days ago was that a judge in Florida signed a paper saying that the baby Eve should be take from the family, from her mother," Vorilhon told CNN.

"I called her (Boisselier) immediately because to take away this poor baby from a mother, I think this is completely crazy, just because she was cloned. So I called Dr. Boisselier, and I said, `If I was you, I would not test anything'."

Florida lawyer Bernard Siegel said yesterday that he had asked for the unknown "parents" of baby Eve, and the principals involved in her birth, to be summoned before a Florida court to determine if she should be placed under court protection.

He said a juvenile division court in Broward County had set a hearing for January 22.