Science experts meeting in Germany have lashed out at “charlatans” who claim to have reproduced human embryos and said that human cloning, while theoretically possible, is still a long way off.

“These charlatans cause plenty of problems and misunderstandings,” muttered Rudolf Jaenisch in front of a row of photographs by the Raelian sect.

Jaenisch, a German geneticist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), is one of about 40 specialists from around the world who have just ended a three-day conference in Berlin aimed at drawing up cloning regulations.

He said that increasing claims of cloned babies, the most recent made by the shadowy sect, were sparking “emotional reactions against cloning in general.”

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