Wanted – surrogate mother for first Neanderthal baby

// January 19th, 2013 // General Science News


Neanderthal manHarvard University’s George Church has talked about alarming genetic engineering ideas before but a recent comment in Spiegel Online has a few people scratching their heads.  In a Q&A in Der Spiegel (Germany’s Spiegel Online), Church talks about engineering humans to live to 120 years of age, making people resistant to viruses, exchanging DNA with other species, and recreating Neanderthals.  And Church would be the guy to do it too.

As Der Spiegel writes:

“Like no one else, molecular biologist George Church represents a guild that is prepared to try out anything that can be done, unconditionally.”

According to the site, Church is in the process of developing technology in his lab that can be used to make human cells similar to those of Neanderthals.  As Church says, “eventually an adventurous female human needs to be found as a surrogate mother for the first Neanderthal baby”.  If Church succeeds in finding a surrogate mother, this would be the first Neanderthal baby in over 30,000 years.

The creepiest thing about this is Church does not understand “why many people should be so profoundly upset by these kinds of technologies”.  And if you think people are worrying unnecessarily, we remind you that in 2009, the extinct bucardo, a subspecies Spanish ibex, was cloned from a frozen skin sample. The newborn died immediately due to respiratory failure, but its birth proves that resurrecting extinct species is certainly possible.

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