By Mary Chan
A Belgian couple is suing an Italian geneticist after giving birth to a cloned sheep last Saturday.
Elise and Georges Ducet, two childless professionals in their late twenties, allege that Dr. Godfrey O. Dellatori, who now goes by "God" for short, breached his contract to clone them the world’s first baby.
"When he said he would use the same techniques as the scientists who cloned Dolly the Sheep, we didn’t think he meant it literally," said a sobbing Mrs. Ducet in a conference call Monday from her hospital room in an undisclosed Mediterranean country. "No wonder I always craved grass."
Mrs. Ducet did acknowledge, however, that "the wool will come in handy" in winter.
The Ducets seek $90 million US in damages, which they say will cover emotional trauma, the initial $900,000 US cost of the procedure, and the cost to take care of the sheep.
"We need the money to build an entire amusement park, I mean nursery, around our star attraction, I mean baby," said Mr. Ducet. "You have no idea how expensive it is to exploit, I mean take care of, your child in Europe. Hollywood’s too far away for us."
Nine months ago, Dellatori shocked the world by claiming that a woman implanted with an egg fertilized by her husband’s sperm had become pregnant. Dellatori modestly played down the final outcome.
"Bow down to me, mere mortals!" he exclaimed, laughing maniacally. "I am greatness incarnate! Take that, Dr. Moreau!"
The United States lead the international condemnation that quickly followed Monday’s announcement.
"While I cannot condemn the inbreeding that lead to my existence, I firmly believe that cloning is a whole other kick at the can," said U.S. President George W. Bush. "It is a heinious [sic] deed that must be stopped immediately."
International scientific and religious communities, including the Vatican and the Fraser Institute, also denounced the procedure. The renowned Scottish scientist who cloned Dolly, however, was nonplussed.
"Ack, it’s been done," the University of Edinburgh’s Dr. Malcolm McMalcolm said dismissively. "We’re currently working on getting a sheep to give birth to a litter of human babies. Now that’s real progress."