Big News from the NY Times: Neanderthal Genome Recovered, and George Church of HARVARD is Quoted as Saying a Neanderthal Can Now Be Brought Back to Life, with Current Technology, for about 30 Million Dollars!

This is stunning.

The NY Times today:

Possessing the Neanderthal genome raises the possibility of bringing Neanderthals back to life. Dr. George Church, a leading genome researcher at the Harvard Medical School, said Thursday that a Neanderthal could be brought to life with present technology for about $30 million.

In the article, Dr. Church explained how a Neanderthal could be brought back to life:

[Dr. Church] said he would start with the human genome, which is highly similar to that of Neanderthals, and change the few DNA units required to convert it into the Neanderthal version.

This could be done, he said, by splitting the human genome into 30,000 chunks about 100,000 DNA units in length. Each chunk would be inserted into bacteria and converted to the Neanderthal equivalent by changing the few DNA units in which the two species differ. The changed lengths of DNA would then be reassembled into a full Neanderthal genome. To avoid ethical problems, this genome would be inserted not into a human cell but into a chimpanzee cell.

The chimp cell would be reprogrammed to embryonic state and used to generate, in a chimpanzee’s womb, a mutant chimp embryo that was a Neanderthal in many or most of its features.

Dr. Church acknowledged that ethical views on such an experiment would vary widely. But bringing a Neanderthal to birth, he said, would satisfy the human desire to communicate with other intelligences.

Dr. Church said he had no plans for such an experiment, but if someone was eager to supply the financing, “We might go along with it.” The treatment of Neanderthals would raise many problems. “Are you going to put them in Harvard or in a zoo?” asked Dr. Klein of Stanford.

Read the whole article here.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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2 Responses to Big News from the NY Times: Neanderthal Genome Recovered, and George Church of HARVARD is Quoted as Saying a Neanderthal Can Now Be Brought Back to Life, with Current Technology, for about 30 Million Dollars!

  1. pochp says:

    It sure is STUNNING and mind-jarring.

  2. Vince says:

    There are going to be ethical issues with chimps and humans alike. With chimps, we have those, myself included, who will say that using an organism we feel inherently connected to to serve our purpose without its consent and with no benefit to itelf is against all the ethics we have, yet there is a greater number of opinions we will have to contend with if we use a human host. My suggestion is to tell the human host-naysayers to shut their yaps and leave well enough alone.

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