Sowing the Seed

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WASHINGTON: In the blue corner: the forces of human decency, led by President Clinton, Health Secretary Donna Shalala and a whole heap of bandwagon-jumping congressmen. In the red corner: the cloning scientist everyone loves to hate, Dr. Richard Seed. That was the battle of the Sunday talk shows, as Seed went on Fox News to pronounce himself a champion of infertile couples. "Dr. Seed will not do human cloning in this country," promised Shalala on CBS. And Clinton used his weekly radio address to urge Congress to rush through his anti—human cloning bill — a popular little number on the Hill right now.

But is Seed really worthy of all this attention, or should he be dismissed as harmless? TIME magazine has unearthed evidence that human cloning is not Seed's first money-seeking crusade — former neighbor Barbara Moline says she was invited to invest $75,000 in a Seed scheme to cure AIDS. "He started conversations by telling you he deserved to be a Nobel prizewinner," Moline remembers. Not to mention that he's a physicist rather than a physician, and has no embryology experience. But lawmakers know a good enemy when they see one, and as long as he plays the mad scientist, Seed will continue to be pilloried.