Fact Check

Genetically Momified

Published June 23, 2015


FACT CHECK: Did a "real-life Dr. Frankenstein" announce the first "lab grown" baby?

Claim:   A "real-life Dr. Frankenstein" announced the birth of the first "lab grown baby."


Origins:    On 17 June 2015, the web site World News Daily Report published an article titled "Real-Life Dr. Frankenstein Creates First Entirely Lab-Grown Baby" which included several photos of a tiny newborn infant and reported:

A group of scientists of the famous State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology VECTOR (Государственный научный центр вирусологии и биотехнологии Вектор), based in Koltsovo, Russia, announced this morning that they had successfully given life to the first human baby grown entirely in vitro and created from reprogrammed stem cells.

“This is a very exciting advance and it’s also very tantalising in terms of the wider fields of medicine and science,” says the famous genetician, Dr. Аlexei Nicolaïevitch Ivanov, who directs the project. “The ability to create an entire human being from simple cells, in a lab, is definitely one of the ‘holy grails’ in medicine. This is a major breakthrough! For the first time, we literally created intelligent life from scratch!”

The article was the second to be lifted from the notoriously fictitious World News Daily Report and republished by Link Beef, the latter a web site without a clearly-displayed disclaimer. (The first involved a gang member who purportedly gold-plated his genitalia, and both "went viral" on 23 June 2015.)

World News Daily Report admits in their disclaimer that all their articles are works of fiction:

WNDR assumes however all responsibility for the satirical nature of its articles and for the fictional nature of their content. All characters appearing in the articles in this website — even those based on real people — are entirely fictional and any resemblance between them and any persons, living, dead, or undead is purely a miracle.

The photo that purportedly depicted the "lab grown baby" created by a "real-life Dr. Frankenstein" in Russia was in actuality an infant named Alexis Clarke, who fought for her life after she was born in 2013 at 25 weeks gestation. Clarke, who weighed 11 ounces, suffered from a number of medical problems due to her premature birth.

Last updated:       23 June 2015

First published:        23 June 2015

Kim LaCapria is a former writer for Snopes.