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Old November 8th, 2009, 01:34 PM   #1

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Cloning Neanderthals

I put this article in this thread as it has many ethical, philosophical and religious ramifications. Any thoughts?

the entire article:

Neanderthal Rights

The morality of resurrecting our closest evolutionary cousins

Ronald Bailey | February 17, 2009

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The ancestral lines of Neanderthals and modern humans split about 800,000 years ago, making them our closest relatives on the hominid family tree. Neanderthals inhabited ice age Europe and parts of the Middle East before going extinct 30,000 years ago. A team of researchers led by geneticist Svante Pääbo at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, Germany announced last week that they had completed a draft sequence of the genome of Neanderthal humans. Eager evolutionary biologists believe that comparing the Neanderthal genome with our own will throw considerable light on the genetic changes that gave us our big brains, language, and the ability to create culture.
Once the Neanderthal genome is complete, could it then be used to clone an actual Neanderthal? Harvard University biologist George Church thinks so. He told The New York Times that a Neanderthal could be brought to life using present technology for about $30 million. How? Church would modify a modern human genome so that its DNA matches the Neanderthal version. To avoid ethical problems, Church tells the Times, this Neanderthal genome would not be inserted into a human cell but instead into a chimpanzee cell. This chimp cell would be reprogrammed to an embryonic state, and then introduced into a chimpanzee's womb where it would develop into a Neanderthal infant.
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Old November 8th, 2009, 05:52 PM   #2

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Re: Cloning Neanderthals

I don't know if I'm too fond of this idea. On the one hand, it is a great educational opportunity but on the other, how would the child be treated? Like an animal or a person? Perhaps not even as an animal but a science experiment? How would the Neanderthal infant cope with a world that has long forgotten its race? Once the child is older, how would he or she understand it has no real father or mother, but born from a chimpanzee?
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Old November 8th, 2009, 07:29 PM   #3

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Re: Cloning Neanderthals

believe it or not, ive thought about this before actually for a time travel story based on the ITV series Prehistoric Park, wondering about whether or not it would be appropriate for teh characters to bring neanderthals from the past to the present and keep them in the park.

i think the care of a genetically engineered neanderthal in the modern day would be conducted similarly to a medical experiment

what i wonder is this: how would a neanderthal react if he or she was told that they were genetically engineered and belonged to a subspecies of human that had been extinct for thousands of years?
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Old November 9th, 2009, 03:52 PM   #4

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Re: Cloning Neanderthals

Are they extinct? I thought they just "bred out" with regular humans? We see folks today that exhibit some of thier features dont we?
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Old November 9th, 2009, 03:59 PM   #5

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Re: Cloning Neanderthals

Originally Posted by Richard Stanbery View Post
Are they extinct? I thought they just "bred out" with regular humans? We see folks today that exhibit some of thier features dont we?
That is a good point

I think that by doing this, if it indeed is ever done, they are trying to examine neanderthal traits & insticts that have been bred down over thousands upon thousands of years.

I personally disagree with us recreating another branch of a failed species, no matter what can be learned. How would it play out? would they attempt to raise it like a normal child or keep it in a lab? Would it have any semblance of a life or simply be a humanzee in a cage?
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Old November 9th, 2009, 04:00 PM   #6

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Re: Cloning Neanderthals

I just hope they do it in my lifetime so I live to see it.
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Old November 9th, 2009, 04:10 PM   #7

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Re: Cloning Neanderthals

This opens the door to human beings, or near-human beings, as property. Quite a slippery slope. They never should have allowed patents on living organisms, only on the processes used to create them.
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Old November 9th, 2009, 04:27 PM   #8

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Re: Cloning Neanderthals

I think we should just continue down the longer, but I think a little more morally right, path of digging around Africa and the like for hominid bones, catching a DNA sample if we are incredibly lucky.
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Old November 9th, 2009, 05:04 PM   #9

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Re: Cloning Neanderthals

There has got to be a law against gestating a human being in a chimpanzee womb. What kind of a sick mind could conceive such an abomination.

The child should have a mother and father. If there is a question of remuneration to secure surrogates, then the money should be raised first.
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Old November 9th, 2009, 05:06 PM   #10

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Re: Cloning Neanderthals

Can a Neanderthal actually be considered a human being, legally? Another problem posed by this.
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