Actuality: Neanderthal baby

The 21 January 2013, an unbelievable news was published on the Daily Mail.

Harvard geneticist George M. Church was quoted in the Daily Mail as looking for an “adventurous woman” to serve a surrogate for a “cloned cave baby”. Professor Church believes he can reconstruct Neanderthal DNA code using samples from fossilized bones and resurrect the species which became extinct 33.000 years ago.                                        But, the only missing piece is a human female volunteer to welcome the new born. He plans to put the recreated DNA into stem cells and then inject into a human embryo cells in the early stages of life.

After this news, the Boston Herald dug a little deeper into the story and contacted Church for an explanation. Church told the Herald Monday night that the Daily Mail article was: Way too outlandish and entirely untrue.                                                                                        Church also said: “I’m certainly not advocating it […] I’m saying, if it is technically possible someday, we need to start talking about it today.”

What is your opinion about it?

Only for ladies, would you apply for this “unique” surrogate mother position?

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22 Responses to Actuality: Neanderthal baby

  1. yarnspinnerr says:

    Playing God wont lead anywhere ……. HE has moved on. 🙂

  2. Ahah I’m totally agree !! Useless to recreate a species already evolved…O.O

    It would be so weird to be pregnant that way, because in the base is your own baby that he would genetically change…Born to be an experiment would be something terrible !!

  3. coyotero2112 says:

    Evolved? Just blended in. I run across Neanderthals every day. Saw a few last night at Nibbana’s on the beach during Happy Hour. The good doctor needs to take a broader view of his world.

  4. MishaBurnett says:

    I think it would be a very cruel thing to do the child, I can’t imagine that he or she would have a very happy life, being sui generis in a world full of humans.

  5. I want to ask this man: what results do you expect this to achieve that won’t be yielded through other investigative paths that have already achieved a lot on the nature-nurture question?

    • Apart from the obvious what-about-child ethical problem that has already been pointed out, there is the offensive presumptuousness in a male scientist asking women to volunteer themselves as reproductive vessels. But I guess there isn’t much discussion of this given the materialism and the sexism of the Western society, which glosses over such “flimsy” ideas as basic human dignity.

      • Schumi23 says:

        While you might argue that it is sexist of a male scientist to ask a female to volunteer, I disagree.
        He is not saying that a female should volunteer because they should be honored to do it for him. No. It is something that is scientifically, and physically needed.

        Are you saying that it is because he is male? How bout if a female scientist asked for a volunteer, would that not be sexist? (I do believe that people of any gender can be sexist, just as people of any race can be racist)
        This calls back to a discussion that was had about Django Unchained: Is it racist because it was directed by a white director? I say that that should have nothing to do, then.
        And I say, the individual saying the words should not be considered. Only his words.

  6. russellboyle says:

    We need to discuss and to perhaps plan for such eventualities. The ethical issues are deep and disturbing: compelling to some, offensive to others. The sanctity of life?

  7. raeme67 says:

    Think of all the money you could make on those Geico Commercials! Sexist maybe, but baby Neanderthal could make you rich! Yeah, I’m not taking this one too seriously.

  8. windhound says:

    Miraculous beings are being born every day carrying Neanderthal DNA into the 21st century. We will always be more than our social,cultural and chemical make-up. Did you ask to be born with your very specific DNA composition? Do you even know who you are from this perspective? Many people today are having their DNA tested and this has revealed that few of us are who we think we are. If my chickens could talk they too would tell you that life is a gift which they hold onto with passion and enthusiasm – maybe the Doctor needs to expand his research!

  9. luanaaraceli says:

    I wouldn’t volunteer for something like this since the research seems to be focused on the past rather than the future. Imagine the complications that would arise for a person born into a world where humans have already surpassed him/her in the evolution process. Speaking of which, a baby with that type of DNA would probably be incompatible with the DNA of women today because we’ve evolved as a species. Stepping backward isn’t possible; evolution is a forward-moving process. Trying to rewind makes as much sense as trying to breed a monkey with an elephant.

    That’s the logical component. Ethically, there’s the issue that it would be a clone. Artificial life. My personal issue with cloning is this: how can we be sure that the clone will even really be human or be able to identify that way? It’s a copy, in the end, not an original. And that seems anathema to me, because people are original and unique. Clones, by definition, cannot possess those qualities.

  10. waynelaw says:

    Jut take a walk around any 24hr Walmart at 3 in the morning and you will see many strong examples proving neanderthal DNA survived. Why do we always have to play God in order to prove God does not exist?

  11. colonialist says:

    If this would lead to something progressive, no problem. Why recreate dinosaurs, though? They are outdated models. What we need is a homo-really-sapiens. The ones we have are mostly just sappy.

  12. Arkenaten says:

    I have no doubt with the right incentive – money- a surrogate could be found and ethics and morally wouldn’t come into the equation, initially at least.
    The real problem would be acceptance within society once the child had grown and the realization that as a Neanderthal the only place where it would fit in would be as a Manchester United supporter.
    Would anyone with any sense of decency do this to someone?

  13. Charity says:

    If it would help us to learn more about the Neanderthals, I don’t see what the problem with re-creating them would be. I mean, really, I doubt we’d be facing a Jurassic Park in real life situation here.

    As for whether or not I would apply for the position – I would not. There are many reasons why I would not, my being opposed to my giving birth to anyone or anything not being the least of them.

  14. He needs to re-read Shelley’s Frankenstein. Good grief. Surely we can think of better things to do.

  15. It seems to me that the Neanderthal aspect is almost irrelevant. The overarching question raised by this and similar previous situations is whether or not it is ethical to clone, period. But that cannot be answered without knowing the motivation, expectations, planned applications, and anticipated effects on the subjects themselves and on the broader society. However complex an undertaking, the action itself is merely merely bio-mechanical and, at most, amoral. The idea of cloning, per se, should neither excite nor horrify. The why’s and wherefore’s, however, are indeed subject to scrutiny and moral judgments by the community at large.

  16. Catherine says:

    Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should.

  17. I’m certain that the primary motivation for this birth is the fact that scientists can find no evidence that people living during this perid had a lesser capacity for intelligance than we do. They also looked a lot like us.
    I’d be opposed because the scientists wouldn’t be able to prevent themselves from constantly getting data from the person in an attempt to learn about human evollution. His/her right to a normal human life would certainly be monitered by the world. But in the end, that identity would define her. It will be the reason for her life,

  18. isikyus says:

    I don’t see a problem with cloning a new member of an extinct species; what if we were cloning the dodo, or the passenger pigeon? The bigger issue here is that the clone would be a person, with all the ethical weight that entails.

    I don’t think we should create a person who will always be a tiny minority in a world of humans, regardless of how interesting an experiment it might be.

    However, we might find we actually need to know what this experiment could teach us. If we must create artificial intelligence, surely it’s better to know how someone who’s just a bit removed from Homo Sapiens fits into society, before some idiot decides to try it with a computer? If Neanderthals are really that close to humans, we’ll have a much better chance of giving one a decent life than we would for a computer mind.

    In other words: I don’t think cloning a Neanderthal is a good idea, but there might be a situation where the alternative is worse.

  19. Die reis says:

    Interesting topic. I would never do this. It is completely against nature, not to mention the kind of life the child would have. Thanks for stopping by my blog.

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