A team of geneticists from Princeton University yesterday claimed to have proved "beyond reasonable doubt" that President George W Bush is in fact the world's first cloned human being. The team spent six months laboriously cross-checking samples of nose hair and dandruff collected at public functions before publishing their startling conclusions in this week's "Nature".
"The mitochondrial RNA is all over the place, but the DNA is almost identical to his "father" ," said a spokesman for the team last night, "Cloning is the only credible explanation."
White House officials last night refused to deny the claim.
Carl Jacobssen from the California Instutute of Technology claims to have been part of the team responsible.
"Back in '92 we wanted to try applying industrial techniques to cloning research, but we needed a special Presidential Order to go ahead, and the President said that we could only proceed if we used his DNA.
From over 3000 attempted fertilisations, we got one half-reasonable fetus. That fetus is George W Bush."
"George W Bush was born in a tank", he explains. "He was given an accelerated biological aging rate, and then we tried to cram him with a lifetime of knowledge in just three years. That's why he's now getting old so fast, its why his national service records and childhood photos are fakes and his early years are a blank, and it's why he didn't know where China was, or who attacked Pearl Harbour."
"Bush 2" was then helped to become Governor of Texas. "We wanted to see how far the qualities and personality of the original individual showed up in the copy. "Bush 2" showed a certain amount of aptitude for campaigning and for mimicking emotional responses but limited ability to empathise, and no real grasp of the day-to-day business of government. We considered that to be a successful match."
"Then, when the Presidential elections came around, and we saw that the Democrat candidate was Al Gore, we thought, why not do this properly? So we got together all Bush's old advisors and set up a duplicate of the original White House staffing, with "Bush 2" in the driving seat and watched what happened, and we got another Iraq war. It's spooky! "
There were some problems, Jacobssen admits, "The human brain develops slowly for a reason, you can't rush it as we did and not expect some problems. "W" has some learning handicaps, and trouble concentrating for more than a few minutes at a time. He is, however, excellent at simple directional tasks like reading autocues. The odd stoop and body language and facial expressions weren't our fault, though, that's just what happens when someone is brought up with lab monkeys."
The support team have since organised visits to daycare and primary schools to try to fill in some of his missing childhood experiences. "He also likes to spend a lot of time back on the ranch playing with "hor-sees" and "doggies". We tried taking him to a zoo once but he was frightened by the elephants and won't go back. He was sitting in on an early reading class when 9-11 happened."
Jacobssen insist that the senior White House staff all know about Bush's "unusual" origin. "That's why they all agreed to come back, they all got on with the original George Bush, and the clone feels reassured and comforted with them around him. They've all been incredibly supportive."
"It's also why they all call him "W" -- we named the clone "George W Bush" as a joke, because the letter "w" sounds like "double-You". We were a little surprised that nobody got that."