This is Gates's hair apparent...

12.02.10: MULTIBILLIONAIRE Bill Gates last night won a state court victory in which it was decided that a child cloned from one of his hairs need not inherit his empire.

Laura X, who may not be named, a former Microsoft employee, had claimed that her six-month-old son was the love child from an affair with Gates which had ended when she became pregnant.

In court, however, a different story emerged. Robert L, a Seattle geneticist, admitted that Miss X, who was his lover for three years, had persuaded him to use his pioneering work on genetic manipulation to clone a male child from one of Gates's hairs.

According to Mr L, Miss X wanted to get back at the software boss for sacking her in 2001.

Mr L picked up the hair when he shared a podium with the Microsoft boss at a science conference 18 months ago. He then analysed the hair to extract Gates's DNA, which was treated before being inserted into a denucleated egg ­ one of Miss X's eggs from which the nucleus had been removed. She bore a healthy male child last autumn. The child is a clone of Bill Gates because his genetic inheritance comes from Gates alone.

Mr L said he decided to break his silence over the incident following a recent split with Miss X. He also admitted that the pair had wanted the cloned child to inherit some of the software billionaire's estate.

Miss X has been arrested and now faces perjury charges. Gates's lawyers are deciding whether to take action against Mr L.

Gates has no legal obligations towards the child, but is said to be curious to meet him. If this happens, psychologists expect that their shared genes will create a strong bond between them.

Although the child is a genetic replica of Gates, his personality will be unique, because the womb is an environment that shapes how babies develop. Stress levels, nutrients and hormones all affect the rate at which genes are "expressed". SH