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Should We Clone Neanderthals?

· The scientific, legal, and ethical obstacles.
The 50,000-year-old skull of a Neanderthal from the site of Shanidar in Iran (top) has a prominent browridge and more projecting face than the 40,000-year-old Homo sapiens skull found at Pestera cu Oase in Romania - www.archaeology.org
by Zach Zorich

If Neanderthals ever walk the earth again, the primordial ooze from which they will rise is an emulsion of oil, water, and DNA capture beads engineered in the laboratory of 454 Life Sciences in Branford, Connecticut. Over the past 4 years those beads have been gathering tiny fragments of DNA from samples of dissolved organic materials, including pieces of Neanderthal bone. Genetic sequences have given paleoanthropologists a new line of evidence for testing ideas about the biology of our closest extinct relative.
Newly developed techniques could make cloning Neanderthal cells or body parts a reality within a few years. The ability to use the genes of extinct hominins is going to force the field of paleoanthropology into some unfamiliar ethical territory. There are still technical obstacles, but soon it could be possible to use that long-extinct genome to safely create a healthy, living Neanderthal clone. Should it be done?
"If your experiment succeeds and you generate a Neanderthal who talks,
you have violated every ethical rule we have,
and if your experiment fails...well. It's a lose-lose."

James Noonan
"This is a species-altering event,
it changes the way we are creating a new generation."

Lori Andrews
"I'm convinced that if one were to raise a Neanderthal in a modern
human family he would function just like everybody else,
I have no reason to doubt he could speak and do all the things
that modern humans do."
[...so much for evolution.]

-Trenton Holliday
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