Michael Jackson genetically engineered his children, it has been claimed.

The late pop icon was reportedly not the biological father of Prince Michael, 12, Paris, 11, and seven-year-old Prince Michael II, also known as 'Blanket', instead asking people with characteristics he admired to donate sperm and eggs.

A source said: "Michael is not the father of a single one of the children in the biological way, but in chemical terms he oversaw their creation as a dad.

"Michael wanted his kids to be the best in every possible way and that prompted him to take the laboratory route instead of leaving nature to take its course.

"He was adamant that the children should come from intelligent, respected and - most importantly - healthy genes.

"He feared passing on vitiligo - the hereditary skin condition that turned his skin from black to white.

"His drug problems also played a major role as he knew his sperm may be damaged."

Michael - who is believed to have been using prescription drugs at the time he died of a suspected cardiac arrest in June - is said to have confided the names of those he was interested in to his dermatologist Dr. Arnold Klein.

The 'King of Pop' asked several friends to help him between 1994 and 1997, although he also called on anonymous donors.

The source told Britain's News of the World newspaper: "One friend he asked to donate sperm was a well-known Hollywood actor who now suspects he may be the father of Blanket. He had a unique bond with Michael."

Michael's ex-wife Debbie Rowe - who he met while she was working as a nurse with Arnold - carried his eldest two children, while Blanket was born by a Mexican nurse called Helena, who acted as a surrogate.

Mark Lester - who played Oliver Twist in 1968 Oscar-winning film 'Oliver!' and became friends with the 'Bad' singer after bonding over the fact they were both child stars - recently claimed he donated sperm to Michael, while Arnold has also hinted he may be the biological father of some of the children.

Michael's former maid Adrian McManus, who worked with him between 1990 and 1994, claims the singer was obsessed with ensuring his children had certain physical traits.

Adrian said: "He was obsessed with how children looked whenever they came to the house and had an unnatural interest in their appearances. He told me he wanted a family of 12, but I never saw him as a sexual human being.

"He stared for hours at videos of children playing. Some he called 'ideal looking', and he would say how he loved 'ruby red lips' and 'blonde hair'."

Michael's mother Katherine Jackson is the legal guardian of all three children.

Meanwhile, a selection of Michael Jackson memorabilia is to be displayed in a six-month tour which will start at London's O2 arena in October.

Among the items on show will be his trademark white gloves and a golf buggy which boasts a picture of Michael as Peter Pan.