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.