National and world news briefs
Published: Tuesday, January 7, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 6, 2003 at 9:54 p.m.
Testing of clone claim has been suspended
The journalist who said he would oversee DNA testing to verify a company's claims it had produced a human clone said Monday he had dropped his efforts for lack of cooperation and could not rule out the possibility of "an elaborate hoax."
Officials with Clonaid, the company that announced Dec. 27 the birth of the world's first clone, first promised DNA testing, then backed off. Clonaid said the parents of the 7-pound baby girl have refused to allow it.
"The team of scientists has had no access to the alleged family and, therefore, cannot verify firsthand the claim that a human baby has been cloned," said Michael Guillen, a former ABC science editor who had offered to arrange the testing.
Clonaid was founded by the Raelian religious sect.
In a statement, Guillen said he had assembled experts to do the work but suspended the effort Monday morning.
"It's still entirely possible Clonaid's announcement is part of an elaborate hoax intended to bring publicity to the Raelian movement," he said.
Astronomers: Milky Way ripped a galaxy apart
SEATTLE - Like a celestial bully, the Milky Way may have ripped apart a smaller galaxy billions of years ago and scattered its stars into a faint surrounding ring.
A new survey scanning the outskirts of the Milky Way has found a belt of stars that are different in chemistry and in motion from stars within the galaxy, suggesting they are the remnants of a galactic collision that may have occurred 10 billion years ago.
The ring, about 120,000 light years across, is shaped like a doughnut with the Milky Way in its center.
"This is something new that we had not expected to find," said Heidi Jo Newberg of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She and Brian Yanny of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory discovered the ring during the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, a project to plot the position and brightness of 100 million celestial objects.
A European team, using different instruments, has confirmed the existence of the ring.
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