Wanted: An ďextremely adventurous female humanĒ to give birth to a Neandertal
2013-01-22 0:00

By George Dvorsky | io9.com

German magazine Der Spiegel has just published an interview with geneticist George Church in which he talks about his work as a biologist and his idea of making humans resistant to all viruses. But he also addresses a topic weíve discussed before: The idea of cloning a Neandertal.

Church, the author of Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves, is a pioneer in synthetic biology and was a key player in the mapping of the human genome. He has also helped to set up around two dozen biotech firms.

When speaking with Der Spiegel, he mentioned that weíll soon have the capacity to clone a Neandertal. "We can clone all kinds of mammals," he said, "so itís very likely that we could clone a human. Why shouldnít we be able to do so?"

Hereís a snippet of the interview:

SPIEGEL: Would cloning a Neanderthal be a desirable thing to do?

Church: Well, thatís another thing. I tend to decide on what is desirable based on societal consensus. My role is to determine whatís technologically feasible. All I can do is reduce the risk and increase the benefits.

SPIEGEL: So letís talk about possible benefits of a Neanderthal in this world.

Church: Well, Neanderthals might think differently than we do. We know that they had a larger cranial size. They could even be more intelligent than us. When the time comes to deal with an epidemic or getting off the planet or whatever, itís conceivable that their way of thinking could be beneficial.

SPIEGEL: How do we have to imagine this: You raise Neanderthals in a lab, ask them to solve problems and thereby study how they think?

Church: No, you would certainly have to create a cohort, so they would have some sense of identity. They could maybe even create a new neo-Neanderthal culture and become a political force.

SPIEGEL: Wouldnít it be ethically problematic to create a Neanderthal just for the sake of scientific curiosity?

Church: Well, curiosity may be part of it, but itís not the most important driving force. The main goal is to increase diversity. The one thing that is bad for society is low diversity. This is true for culture or evolution, for species and also for whole societies. If you become a monoculture, you are at great risk of perishing. Therefore the recreation of Neanderthals would be mainly a question of societal risk avoidance.

SPIEGEL: Setting aside all ethical doubts, do you believe it is technically possible to reproduce the Neanderthal?

Church: The first thing you have to do is to sequence the Neanderthal genome, and that has actually been done. The next step would be to chop a human genome up into, say, 10,000 chunks and then synthesize these. Finally, you would introduce these chunks into a human stem cell. If we do that often enough, then we would generate a stem cell line that would get closer and closer to the corresponding sequence of the Neanderthal. We developed the semi-automated procedure required to do that in my lab. Finally, we assemble all the chunks in a human stem cell, which would enable you to finally create a Neanderthal clone.


Read the full article at: io9.com

Related Articles
Synthetic Biologist: Cloned Children, ĎHandpicked Genesí Right Around the Corner
Evolution seen in "synthetic DNA"
J. Craig Venter Create Synthetic Life - Could it Wipe out Humanity?
Are genes our destiny? íHiddení code in DNA evolves more rapidly than genetic code
DNA Technique Reveals Looks of Long-Dead Humans
Ancient Foreign DNA Found in Modern Human DNA
The brains of human and Neanderthal babies were almost identical

Latest News from our Front Page

Sweden to give over 8 million euros to Turkey for "refugee deal" - Europe to give three billion euros total
2015-12-01 1:44
Prime Minister Stefan Löfven announced on Sunday that Sweden would contribute to a joint action plan agreed by nine EU nations designed to limit the number of refugees arriving in Europe via Turkey. The deal came after the German Chancellor Angela Merkel held a surprise summit in Brussels involving the leaders of nine countries including Sweden, France and the UK. The European ...
Swedish woman raped by "refugee" refuses to report it because she feels sorry for him
2015-12-01 0:12
Victim sympathized with rapist's "difficult situation" A Swedish woman who was raped by an Iraqi ‚Äúrefugee‚ÄĚ on a train initially refused to report the incident to police because she ‚Äėfelt sorry‚Äô for her attacker. The incident occurred on a night train between Ume√• and Sundsvall back in October. The Iraqi refugee was traveling back to Sweden because he was unhappy with the ...
ISIS Oil Trade Full Frontal: "Raqqa's Rockefellers," Bilal Erdogan, KRG Crude, And The Israel Connection
2015-11-30 21:56
"Effectively, we have been financially discriminated against for a long time. By early 2014, when we did not receive the budget, we decided we need to start thinking about independent oil sales‚ÄĚ --  Ashti Hawrami, Kurdistan‚Äôs minister for natural resources In June of 2014, the SCF Altai (an oil tanker) arrived at Ashkelon port. Hours later, the first shipment of Kurdish ...
Prosecutors ban Soros Foundation as 'threat to Russian national security'
2015-11-30 21:04
The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office has recognized George Soros’s Open Society Institute and another affiliated organization as undesirable groups, banning Russian citizens and organizations from participation in any of their projects. In a statement released on Monday, prosecutors said the activities of the Open Society Institute and the Open Society Institute Assistance Foundation were a threat to the foundations of Russia’s ...
Israeli Colonel Caught with Islamic State (IS) Pants Down
2015-11-30 21:11
This was definitely not supposed to happen. It seems that an Israeli military man with the rank of colonel was ‚Äúcaught with IS pants down.‚ÄĚ By that I mean he was captured amid a gaggle of so-called IS‚Äďor Islamic State or ISIS or DAESH depending on your preference‚Äďterrorists, by soldiers of the Iraqi army. Under interrogation by the Iraqi intelligence ...
More News »