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nordicwarrior
31-01-13, 04:32
I haven't seen this posted yet on Eupedia, and it's been making the media rounds here in the U.S.--apparently Harvard Medical Sciences professor George Church is seeking an "adventurous" woman to birth a Neanderthal baby using ancient DNA samples. He has since walked this back claiming an improper translation from a German magazine writer, but his "clarification" may be linked to an enormous media splash.

What do you think--should we bring back the Neanderthal? Has the Neanderthal even left us in the first place?

Maciamo
31-01-13, 11:07
Here is the story : Wanted: 'Adventurous woman' to give birth to Neanderthal man - Harvard professor seeks mother for cloned cave baby (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2265402/Adventurous-human-woman-wanted-birth-Neanderthal-man-Harvard-professor.html).

That's pretty incredible, but exciting at the same time. I shouldn't pose too much of an ethical problem since Neanderthals are modern humans and the baby should therefore be able to live a normal life like any of us. His looks would be different from the mainstream, but not more so than other isolated minorities such as the Papuans, aboriginal Australians, Pygmies or Khoisans.

I would only be concerned for the child's immune system. Our immunity has evolved considerably over the last 40,000 years. As recently as 400-500 years ago, Native Americans still lacked immunity against the common cold. Viruses evolved constantly to try to bypass our ever more sophisticated immune system. Would a 40,000 year-old genome be able to cope with the aggressions from modern viruses ? Wouldn't it be safer to produce a hybrid Neanderthal at first, one who would inherit half of a modern genome to mitigate such a risk ? Not to mention that a hybrid would have a much easier time to adapt, because he/she would look and think far more like us.

Taranis
31-01-13, 11:35
This is actually the original story (http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/george-church-explains-how-dna-will-be-construction-material-of-the-future-a-877634.html). Professor Church was actually misquoted (not in the original article), and the rest of the media exaggerated and extrapolated... :wary2:

Here is a transcript of the original interview (note the part I have bolded, because this was critically omitted):


Interview with George Church: Can Neanderthals Be Brought Back from the Dead?

In a SPIEGEL interview, synthetic biology expert George Church of Harvard University explains how DNA will become the building material of the future -- one that can help create virus-resistant human beings and possibly bring back lost species like the Neanderthal.


George Church, 58, is a pioneer in synthetic biology, a field whose aim is to create synthetic DNA and organisms in the laboratory. During the 1980s, the Harvard University professor of genetics helped initiate the Human Genome Project that created a map of the human genome. In addition to his current work in developing accelerated procedures for sequencing and synthesizing DNA, he has also been involved in the establishing of around two dozen biotech firms. In his new book, "Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves," which he has also encoded as strands of DNA and distributed on small DNA chips, Church sketches out a story of a second, man-made Creation.


SPIEGEL recently sat down with Church to discuss his new tome and the prospects for using synthetic biology to bring the Neanderthal back from exctinction as well as the idea of making humans resistant to all viruses.


SPIEGEL: Mr. Church, you predict that it will soon be possible to clone Neanderthals. What do you mean by "soon"? Will you witness the birth of a Neanderthal baby in your lifetime?
Church: I think so, but boy there are a lot of parts to that. The reason I would consider it a possibility is that a bunch of technologies are developing faster than ever before. In particular, reading and writing DNA is now about a million times faster than seven or eight years ago. Another technology that the de-extinction of a Neanderthal would require is human cloning. We can clone all kinds of mammals, so it's very likely that we could clone a human. Why shouldn't we be able to do so?


SPIEGEL: Perhaps because it is banned?


Church: That may be true in Germany, but it's not banned all over the world. And laws can change, by the way.


SPIEGEL: Would cloning a Neanderthal be a desirable thing to do?


Church: Well, that's another thing. I tend to decide on what is desirable based on societal consensus. My role is to determine what's technologically feasible. All I can do is reduce the risk and increase the benefits.


SPIEGEL: So let's talk about possible benefits of a Neanderthal in this world.


Church: Well, Neanderthals might think differently than we do. We know that they had a larger cranial size. They could even be more intelligent than us. When the time comes to deal with an epidemic or getting off the planet or whatever, it's conceivable that their way of thinking could be beneficial.


SPIEGEL: How do we have to imagine this: You raise Neanderthals in a lab, ask them to solve problems and thereby study how they think?


Church: No, you would certainly have to create a cohort, so they would have some sense of identity. They could maybe even create a new neo-Neanderthal culture and become a political force.


SPIEGEL: Wouldn't it be ethically problematic to create a Neanderthal just for the sake of scientific curiosity?


Church: Well, curiosity may be part of it, but it's not the most important driving force. The main goal is to increase diversity. The one thing that is bad for society is low diversity. This is true for culture or evolution, for species and also for whole societies. If you become a monoculture, you are at great risk of perishing. Therefore the recreation of Neanderthals would be mainly a question of societal risk avoidance.


SPIEGEL: Setting aside all ethical doubts, do you believe it is technically possible to reproduce the Neanderthal?


Church: The first thing you have to do is to sequence the Neanderthal genome, and that has actually been done. The next step would be to chop this genome up into, say, 10,000 chunks and then synthesize these. Finally, you would introduce these chunks into a human stem cell. If we do that often enough, then we would generate a stem cell line that would get closer and closer to the corresponding sequence of the Neanderthal. We developed the semi-automated procedure required to do that in my lab. Finally, we assemble all the chunks in a human stem cell, which would enable you to finally create a Neanderthal clone.


SPIEGEL: And the surrogates would be human, right? In your book you write that an "extremely adventurous female human" could serve as the surrogate mother.


Church: Yes. However, the prerequisite would, of course, be that human cloning is acceptable to society.


SPIEGEL: Could you also stop the procedure halfway through and build a 50-percent Neanderthal using this technology.


Church: You could and you might. It could even be that you want just a few mutations from the Neanderthal genome. Suppose you were to realize: Wow, these five mutations might change the neuronal pathways, the skull size, a few key things. They could give us what we want in terms of neural diversity. I doubt that we are going to particularly care about their facial morphology, though (laughs).


SPIEGEL: Might it one day be possible to descend even deeper into evolutionary history and recreate even older ancestors like Australopithecus or Homo erectus?


Church: Well, you have got a shot at anything where you have the DNA. The limit for finding DNA fragments is probably around a million years.


SPIEGEL: So we won't be seeing the return of the caveman or dinosaurs?


Church: Probably not. But even if you don't have the DNA, you can still make something that looks like it. For example, if you wanted to make a dinosaur, you would first consider the ostrich, one of its closest living relatives. You would take an ostrich, which is a large bird, and you would ask: "What's the difference between birds and dinosaurs? How did the birds lose their hands?" And you would try to identify the mutations and try to back engineer the dinosaur. I think this will be feasible.


SPIEGEL: Is it also conceivable to create lifeforms that never existed before? What about, for example, rabbits with wings?


Church: So that's a further possibility. However, things have to be plausible from an engineering standpoint. There is a bunch of things in birds that make flying possible, not just the wings. They have very lightweight bones, feathers, strong breast muscles, and the list goes on.


SPIEGEL: Flying rabbits and recreated dinosaurs are pure science fiction today. But on the microbe level, researchers are already creating synthetic life. New bacteria detect arsenic in drinking water. They create synthetic vaccines and diesel fuel. You call these organisms "novel machines". How do they relate to the machines we know?


Church: Well, all organisms are mechanical in the sense that they're made up of moving parts that inter-digitate like gears. The only difference is that they are incredibly intricate. They are atomically precise machines.


SPIEGEL: And what will these machines be used for?


Church: Oh, life science will co-opt almost every other field of manufacturing. It's not limited to agriculture and medicine. We can even use biology in ways that biology never has evolved to be used. DNA molecules for example could be used as three-dimensional scaffolding for inorganic materials, and this with atomic precision. You can design almost any structure you want with a computer, then you push a button -- and there it is, built-in DNA.


SPIEGEL: DNA as the building material of the future?


Church: Exactly. And it's amazing. Biology is good at making things that are really precise. Take trees for example. Trees are extremely complicated, at least on a molecular basis. However, they are so cheap, that we burn them or convert them into tables. Trees cost about $50 a ton. This means that you can make things that are nearly atomically precise for five cents a kilo.


SPIEGEL: You are seriously proposing to build all kinds of machines -- cars, computers or coffee machines -- out of DNA?


Church: I think it is very likely that this is possible. In fact, computers made of DNA will be better than the current computers, because they will have even smaller processors and be more energy efficient.


SPIEGEL: Let's go through a couple of different applications of synthetic biology. How long will it take, for example, until we can fill our tanks with fuel that has been produced using synthentic microbes?


Church: The fact is that we already have organisms that can produce fuel compatible with current car engines. These organisms convert carbon dioxide and light into fuels by basically using photosynthesis.


SPIEGEL: And they do so in an economically acceptable way?


Church: If you consider $1.30 a gallon for fuel a good number, then yeah. And the price will go down. Most of these systems are at least a factor of five away from theoretical limits, maybe even a factor of 10.
SPIEGEL: So we should urgently include synthetic life in our road map for the future energy supply in Germany?


Church: Well, I don't necessarily think it's a mistake to go slowly. It is not like Germany is losing out to lots of other nations right now, but there should be some sort of engineering and policy planning.


SPIEGEL: Germans are traditionally scared of genetically modified organisms.


Church: But don't forget: The ones we are talking about won't be farm GMOs. These will be in containers, and so if there's a careful planning process, I would predict that Germany would be as good as any country at doing this.


SPIEGEL: There has been a lot of fierce public opposition to genetic engineering in Germany. How do you experience this? Do you find it annoying?


Church: Quite to the contrary. I personally think it has been fruitful. And I think there are relatively few examples in which such a debate has slowed down technology. I think we should be quite cautious, but that doesn't mean that we should put moratoriums on new technologies. It means licensing, surveillance, doing tests. And we actually must make sure the public is educated about them. It would be great if all the politicians in the world were as technologically savvy as the average citizen is politically savvy.


SPIEGEL: Acceptance is highest for such technology when it is first applied in the medical industry ...


Church: … yes, and the potential of synthetic life is particularly large in pharmaceuticals. The days of classic, small molecule drugs may be numbered. Actually, it is a miracle that they work in the first place. They kind of dose your whole body. They cross-react with other molecules. Now, we are getting better and better at programming cells. So I think cell therapies are going to be the next big thing. If you engineer genomes and cells, you have an incredible amount of sophistication. If you take AIDS virus as an example ...


SPIEGEL: ... a disease you also want to beat with cell therapy?


Church: Yes. All you have to do is take your blood cell precursors out of your body, reengineer them using gene therapy to knock out both copies of your CCR5 gene, which is the AIDS receptor, and then put them back in your body. Then you can't get AIDS any more, because the virus can't enter your cells.


SPIEGEL: Are we correct in assuming you wouldn't hesitate to use germ cell therapy, as well, if you could improve humans genetically in this way?


Church: Well, there are stem cell therapies already. There are hematopoietic stem cell transplants that are widely practiced, and skin stem cell transplants. Once you have enough experience with these techniques you can start talking about human cloning. One of the things to do is to engineer our cells so that they have a lower probability of cancer. And then once we have a lower probability of cancer, you can crank up their self-renewal properties, so that they have a lower probability of senescence. We have people who live to be 120 years old. What if we could all live 120 years? That might be considered desirable.


SPIEGEL: But you haven't got any idea which genes to change in order to achieve that goal.


Church: In order to find out, we are now involved in sequencing as many people as possible who have lived for over 110 years. There are only 60 of those people in the world that we know of.


SPIEGEL: Do you have any results already?


Church: It's too early to say. But we collected the DNA of about 20 of them, and the analysis is just beginning.


SPIEGEL: You expect them all to have the same mutation that guarantees longevity?


Church: That is one possibility. The other possibility is that they each have their own little advantage over everybody else. What we are looking for is protective alleles. If they each have their own answer, we can look at all of them and ask, what happens if you put them all in one person? Do they cancel each other out, or do they synergize?


SPIEGEL: You seriously envisage a new era, in which genes are used as anti-aging-cures?


Church: Why not? A lot of things that were once left to luck no longer have to be if we add synthetic biology into the equation. Let's take an example: virus resistance ...


SPIEGEL: ... which is also achievable using synthetic biology?


Church: Yes, it turns out there are certain ways to make organisms of any kind resistent to any viruses. If you change the genetic code ...


SPIEGEL: ... you are talking about the code that all life forms on Earth use to code their genetic information?


Church: Exactly. You can change that code. We're testing that out in bacteria and it might well be possible to create completely virus-resistant E. coli, for example. But we won't know until we get there. And I am not promising anything. I am just laying out a path, so that people can see what possible futures we have.


SPIEGEL: And if it works in bacteria, you presumably could then move on to plants, animals and even humans? Which means: no more measles, no more rabies, no more influenza?


Church: Sure. And that would be another argument for cloning, by the way, since cloning is probably going to be recognized as the best way of building such virus resistance into humans. As long as it is safe and tested slowly, it might gain acceptance. And I'm not advocating. I'm just saying, this is the pathway that might happen.


SPIEGEL: It all sounds so easy and straightforward. Aren't biological processes far more complicated than you would like to lead us to believe?


Church: Yes, biology is complicated, but it's actually simpler than most other technologies we are dealing with. The reason is that we have received a great gift that biology has given to us. We can just take a little bit of DNA and stick it into a human stem cell, and all the rest of it is self-assembled. It just happens. It's as if a master engineer parked a spacecraft in our back yard with not so many manuals, but lots of goodies in it that are kind of self-explanatory. You pick up something and you pretty much know what it does after a little study.


SPIEGEL: Do you understand that there will be people who feel rather uncomfortable with the notion of changing the genome of the human species?


Church: I think the definition of species is about to change anyway. So far, the definition of different species has been that they can't exchange DNA. But more and more, this species barrier is falling. Humans will probably share genes with all sorts of organisms.


SPIEGEL: First you propose to change the 3-billion-year-old genetic code. Then you explain how you want to create a new and better man. Is it any wonder to you when people accuse you of playing God?


Church: I certainly respect other people's faith. But, in general, in religion you wouldn't want people to starve. We have 7 billion people living on this planet. If part of the solution to feed those people is to make their crops resistant to viruses, then you have to ask: Is there really anything in the Bible that says you shouldn't make virus-resistant crops? I don't think there's anything fundamentally more religiously problematic about engineering a dog or a cow or a horse the way we have been doing it for 10,000 years versus making a virus-resistant crop.


SPIEGEL: Virus-resistant crops is one thing. Virus-resistant humans is something altogether different.


Church: Why? In technology, we generally don't take leaps. It's this very slow crawl. We are not going to be making a virus-resistant human before we make a virus-resistant cow. I don't understand why people should be so deeply hurt by that kind of technology.


SPIEGEL: Apart from religious opposition, biotechnology also generates very real fears. Artificial lifeforms which might turn out to be dangerous killer-bugs. Don't we need special precautions?


Church: We have to be very cautious, I absolutely agree. I almost never vote against caution or regulations. In fact, I requested them for licensing and surveillance of synthetic biology. Yes, I think the risks are high. The risks of doing nothing are also high, if you consider that there are 7 billion people who need food and are polluting the environment.


SPIEGEL: Mr. Church, do you believe in God?


Church: I would be blind, if I didn't see that faith in an overall plan resulted in where we are today. Faith is a very powerful force in the history of humanity. So I greatly respect different kinds of faith. Just as I think diversity is a really good thing genetically, it's also a good thing societally.


SPIEGEL: But you're talking about other people's faith. What about your own faith?


Church: I have faith that science is a good thing. Seriously, I'd say that I am very much in awe of nature. In fact, I think to some extent, "awe" was a word that was almost invented for scientists. Not all scientists are in awe, but scientists are in a better position to be in awe than just about anybody else on the planet, because they actually can imagine all the different scales and all the complexity. A poet sees a flower and can go on and on about how beautiful the colors are. But what the poet doesn't see is the xylem and the phloem and the pollen and the thousands of generations of breeding and the billions of years before that. All of that is only available to the scientists.


SPIEGEL: Mr. Church, we thank you for this conversation.

So in a nutshell, he said "we should clone Neanderthals, once society considers cloning acceptable" - dump the second part and he becomes bloated into a stereotypical mad scientist! :laughing:

hope
31-01-13, 16:44
So Mr. Church not only wants to clone a human but, if society is with him, a Neanderthal!
I can`t begin to think of the psychological problems such a "creation" would end up with. That`s one Pandora Box we should not open IMO. Let`s hope Church can draw a very wide line between what "could" be done to what "should" be done.
On the bright side he doesn`t find it plausible to give rabbits wings, so at least we wont have to watch out for low flying bunnies.

nordicwarrior
31-01-13, 17:26
So in a nutshell, he said "we should clone Neanderthals, once society considers cloning acceptable" - dump the second part and he becomes bloated into a stereotypical mad scientist! :laughing:

I'm glad you posted the entire interview Taranis, now I'm even more scared of this guy.

nordicwarrior
31-01-13, 18:29
There is so much to unpack in this interview. I strongly disagree with at least 90% of the professor's statements. But I do agree that Neanderthal will think "differently" than we do, and that there's a good chance they are more intelligent than we are today. This next sentence probably could use it's own thread, but basic factors such as brain weight, brain size, and brain "wrinkleness" (made up that word) correlate to intelligence levels. (Einstein's brain had bunches of extra wrinkles.)

But back to the professor, he comes off as dodgey to me. He didn't directly answer the question concerning his personal belief system and when he referred to the cloning ban he said: "That may be true in Germany, but it's not banned all over the world. And laws change by the way." UGGHHH!

What concerns me the most however, is the uneven applications that will eventually creep into this new science. Here in the U.S. we have a head start dealing with the "joys" of genetic manipulation. GMO's have morphed into much of our food supply, and this experiment is proving to be a disaster. Please google photos of the French studies on GMO and notice the copious tumors on the poor rats. I'll wager a crisp $20 Professor Church does the majority of his food shopping at Whole Foods. Too bad America's working poor can't make the informed decisions Professor Church can, and that they don't have the padded wallet he does when they chow down on the 99 cent menu at McDonalds.

Maciamo
31-01-13, 18:39
So Mr. Church not only wants to clone a human but, if society is with him, a Neanderthal!
I can`t begin to think of the psychological problems such a "creation" would end up with. That`s one Pandora Box we should not open IMO. Let`s hope Church can draw a very wide line between what "could" be done to what "should" be done.

I don't understand what kind of issues you are referring to. Why should it be a Pandora Box ? There are still deeply religious people who think that in-vitro fertilisation or medically assisted procreation are immoral, or "against God" as they would say. Such views were still dominant 50 years ago. Yet, a big part of European society has evolved to accept such things as normal nowadays. I don't see why it should be any different here.

Maciamo
31-01-13, 18:56
But I do agree that Neanderthal will think "differently" than we do, and that there's a good chance they are more intelligent than we are today.

Think differently from whom ? All of us already think differently. I personally always felt like I thought very differently from most people I have met, not least within my own family. There is no need to be very genetically different to think uniquely. Likewise, seen from a distance, a lot of people around the world seem to be thinking remarkably alike, despite their genetic and cultural differences.

As for intelligence, Neanderthals having a more developed occipital lobe, their visual skills would probably exceed that modern humans. Many years ago, I proposed the idea that the superb cave paintings of France and Spain, like Lascaux and Altamira, were made possible by the absorption of Neanderthal genes, those conferring a more developed occipital cortex, by Homo Sapiens. Neanderthals had, on the other hand, a smaller prefrontal cortex, and therefore might be less efficient at problem solving and decision making than the average Homo Sapiens. That might even lead the potential Neanderthal child to develop antisocial or violent behaviour. But there are modern humans with tiny prefrontal lobes that seem to be leading perfectly normal lives.

nordicwarrior
31-01-13, 18:57
Maciamo, so you support human cloning? What about injecting new animal/plant/fungal/bacterial sequences into the human genome? If this isn't Pandora's Box, I don't know what is...

nordicwarrior
31-01-13, 19:10
Great point about those cave drawings, Maciamo. After studying them in depth, I quickly realized the level of innate intelligence in these ancient artists was higher than modern science was realizing at the time.

And regarding Neanderthal thinking differently, have you seen the videos of Japanese animal experts working with Chimps and number recognition? The Chimps have faster hand-eye coordination, and more rapid number recall than any human I've seen. Please watch a few videos if you have the chance, it's mind boggling. What if Neanderthal had similiar traits, but amplified with a much larger, heavier brain?

hope
31-01-13, 19:15
I don't understand what kind of issues you are referring to. Why should it be a Pandora Box ? There are still deeply religious people who think that in-vitro fertilisation or medically assisted procreation are immoral, or "against God" as they would say. Such views were still dominant 50 years ago. Yet, a big part of European society has evolved to accept such things as normal nowadays. I don't see why it should be any different here.

I`m for I.V. treatment and ART, but using this as an example..how much publicity does some-one who births five or six children get ? Here in Britain we have the Walton family sextuplets. From their birth to now cameras have followed them, documentaries have been made regarding them at key stages of their lives, albeit mostly with their consent and participation.
Now let`s say George Church, or whoever, were to bring this Neanderthal child into being..can you imagine the interest world-wide? How would this person as they grew start to deal with that, or come to terms with why they were of such interest?
Would Mr. Church decide to keep the person closed off from the outside world, like a lab pet, to study and monitor, for the course of their lives?
And this child as it got older would know it was very different from other humans..is that in itself not something that would be hard to deal with?
Then how should he/she deal if exposed to a virus..how might the body react?
Just because something might be possible (or the out-come interesting) doesn`t allow it should be done.
Nature choose to make Neanderthals extinct and I don`t think we should be so quick to go against this.

Tabaccus Maximus
31-01-13, 19:28
Maciamo, so you support human cloning? What about injecting new animal/plant/fungal/bacterial sequences into the human genome? If this isn't Pandora's Box, I don't know what is...

I agree.

The best case scenario here is that we, the smart people, hold hands around the hospital bed of a neanderthal kindergartener dying of the common cold.

I suppose if the child grew to sexual maturity, we would then say 'well, we're sorry but you can't procreate. You can get married, but we won't let you have children who may contaminate the human genome with unknown results'.

I can think of about thirty thousand bad results here. As much as I would be tempted to want to see an neanderthal, sometimes restraint is the greatest virtue.

Tabaccus Maximus
31-01-13, 19:43
So in a nutshell, he said "we should clone Neanderthals, once society considers cloning acceptable" - dump the second part and he becomes bloated into a stereotypical mad scientist! :laughing:[/QUOTE]


I would argue, it is what a scientist does that makes him mad, not how polite he speaks. I would agree with the notion that genetic alteration can improve the lives of humans if it is used in a limited fashion to kill cancer cells, developmental problems, etc. But objectifying human beings in such a way as Mr. Church improves no one's life and historically yields a lot of pain and suffering.

nordicwarrior
31-01-13, 20:04
Here's a cheaper, more ethically sound method to bring back Neanderthal. Gather twenty I1/I2 males and twenty U/X females, put them on South Georgia Island (near the tip of South America and Antarctia), rope the island off to all visitors, and let nature take it's course. The micro-climate matches, the diet would roughly match, and the best part--nobody gets cloned!

Remote cameras could capture the action, so behavorial science could benefit as well as the biological lab coats. Sell the television rights to the BBC or CBS and the entire enterprise gets properly funded.

I'll be the first volunteer. Anybody else in? :)

Taranis
31-01-13, 20:08
I would argue, it is what a scientist does that makes him mad, not how polite he speaks. I would agree with the notion that genetic alteration can improve the lives of humans if it is used in a limited fashion to kill cancer cells, developmental problems, etc. But objectifying human beings in such a way as Mr. Church improves no one's life and historically yields a lot of pain and suffering.

I think that is entirely besides the point. The point is the difference between what he actually said in the interview and what was posted in the article, and what the media subsequently made of him: he spoke about a lot of theoretical things, including the cloning of Neanderthals, and he pointed out that the prerequisite for such an endeavour would be that society finds it acceptable. In contrast to this, the media misquoted him, claiming that he was - almost advertisement-like - seeking avidly for a surrogate mother in order to clone a Neanderthal. But, he never said such a thing.

To me, there's a difference between a geneticist who discusses radical ideas theoretically in an interview and a distorted carricature of a geneticist who wants to do these things better today than tomorrow.

EDIT: you might want to read the follow-up article (http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel-responds-to-brouhaha-over-neanderthal-clone-interview-a-879311.html) on SPIEGEL, which discusses this in detail.

Maciamo
31-01-13, 21:16
Now let`s say George Church, or whoever, were to bring this Neanderthal child into being..can you imagine the interest world-wide? How would this person as they grew start to deal with that, or come to terms with why they were of such interest?

I suppose they would get similar media attention as royalty. Let's see just how messed up Princes William and Harry became, and judge if we want to impose this on that Neanderthal child. No, frankly I don't see the problem.



Would Mr. Church decide to keep the person closed off from the outside world, like a lab pet, to study and monitor, for the course of their lives?

Why would you ever want to sequester a human being like a pet or a lab animal ? The danger comes from treating that Neanderthal child any differently from another human being. He/she should grow up like a normal child, go to school, etc. Not having biological parents, he/she would need to be adopted, perhaps by a couple of scientists involved in the project.

nordicwarrior
31-01-13, 21:30
Taranis, I read the follow-up article on Spiegel. It sounds like Mr. Church regrets the heat generated by his comments more than anything else. He made a string of controversial comments and he should have the guts to stand behind them. He is splitting hairs claiming it is the fault of the magazine(s). Again this goes back to my initial read on him--dodgey.

"That may be true in Germany, but it's not banned all over the world. And laws can change by the way." In my view, he (or one of his ilk) fully intends on trying to clone Neanderthal. He should be a man, step up, and own his statements.

hope
31-01-13, 22:16
I suppose they would get similar media attention as royalty.


Yes Maciamo , exactly that. William and Harry get media attention because of who they are..royalty. Now if our Neanderthal gets similar attention then it is because of who he is, a genetically engineered human who is quite distinct from other humans around him. Sooner or later this could have negative emotional effects.
I agree he would have to be adopted and treated as any other child, but would he. Don`t you think he would be observed and watched more than any other child would normally be? His development would be of interest more than an average child and so already he is treated different.
His identity could not be kept a complete secret and so always, I`m sure, will be those who would perceive him as different. We see how those of different religions or cultures can be marginalized, how much so this child? Not everyone has an open mind, a small difference can isolate a person. Isolation in itself carries many emotional effects.
Also the majority of humans seek to belong to a group, have a desire to be accepted as part of a group that is like themselves...will he ever feel he has found that place? It is one thing to be different because of a skill or talent or religion etc. but quite another if the difference is you are one of a kind.

Or perhaps I am just being too negative and these things may never arise.

nordicwarrior
01-02-13, 07:50
I'm surprised nobody commented on my "natural Neanderthal solution" (40 people on a desolate island)-- I thought that was pretty hilarous myself. Oh well, I guess not everyone gets my humor.

I did want to address any ladies that are mitochondrial X or U and might have been upset by my earlier island classification system. Please don't be insulted. I have the rather unorthodox viewpoint that "primitive DNA" groups such as y-I and female X/female U that may be closer to Neanderthal are in fact just as evolved (if not more so) than other groups. In my humble opinion, hybrid theory between homo-sapien and Neanderthal is what led to the amazing brain development we see in the resulting offspring soon after sapien leaves Africa. In fact, Neanderthal brain power easily trumped what Sapien brought to the table circa 100,000 to 80,000 years ago.

It seems certain scientific institutions are having trouble admitting these stubborn facts. Luckily Max Planck is guided by hard evidence and not politically correct idealization. Now it seems that professor Church is realizing the cranial power of Neanderthal, so at least he has that going for him.

Yetos
01-02-13, 10:47
I think we are having ideas about movies like Jurassic park,
Maybe in that island we must also resurect mammoths and other animal and plants of that age.

maybe we should also ressurect Spanish flue.

infect them and use them as factory for Influenza vaccines.

sory but I always afraid such Ideas.

Maciamo
01-02-13, 10:54
Yes Maciamo , exactly that. William and Harry get media attention because of who they are..royalty. Now if our Neanderthal gets similar attention then it is because of who he is, a genetically engineered human who is quite distinct from other humans around him. Sooner or later this could have negative emotional effects.
I agree he would have to be adopted and treated as any other child, but would he. Don`t you think he would be observed and watched more than any other child would normally be? His development would be of interest more than an average child and so already he is treated different.
His identity could not be kept a complete secret and so always, I`m sure, will be those who would perceive him as different. We see how those of different religions or cultures can be marginalized, how much so this child? Not everyone has an open mind, a small difference can isolate a person. Isolation in itself carries many emotional effects.
Also the majority of humans seek to belong to a group, have a desire to be accepted as part of a group that is like themselves...will he ever feel he has found that place? It is one thing to be different because of a skill or talent or religion etc. but quite another if the difference is you are one of a kind.

Or perhaps I am just being too negative and these things may never arise.

There are already plenty of people who are looked upon or treated differently because they belong to minorities. This is an inevitable part of human condition, and especially since globalisation brought people from different ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds together. Saying that this Neanderthal child shouldn't be born because he might face discrimination or social stigma is alike to saying that ethnic and religious minorities in a country shouldn't have kids because they might face discrimination or social stigma. Are you ready to pass a law to ban minorities from procreating ? Is that what you are saying ?

Maciamo
01-02-13, 10:56
I think we are having ideas about movies like Jurassic park,
Maybe in that island we must also resurect mammoths and other animal and plants of that age.

maybe we should also ressurect Spanish flue.

and use them as factory for Influenza vaccines

This comment is completely irrelevant to this discussion. Neanderthals are partially alive in all of us.

Maciamo
01-02-13, 11:01
I suppose if the child grew to sexual maturity, we would then say 'well, we're sorry but you can't procreate. You can get married, but we won't let you have children who may contaminate the human genome with unknown results'.

With that kind of thinking, you could ban almost anybody from procreating. Every individual carries unique mutations that could have unforeseen effects on humanity in the long term. But only the good and useful alleles survive through natural selection. That's called evolution.

Unfortunately sometimes good genes may die out through sheer bad luck, or because the environmental conditions changed temporarily. We cannot know if "pure" Neanderthals would be better or worse adapted to modern life, as they never got the chance to live past Palaeolithic times. Modern society is so complex and diverse that all kinds of minds could contribute something, one way or another. The more special the abilities, the more useful it could be for humanity as a whole. Unique minds often produce movers and shakers, people who generate new ideas and visions.

Kardu
01-02-13, 11:25
Regarding child isolation issue etc. if Neanderthal cloning will be possible why just make one? :) Why not 10 and thus they will have their group

hope
01-02-13, 13:25
There are already plenty of people who are looked upon or treated differently because they belong to minorities. Saying that this Neanderthal child shouldn't be born because he might face discrimination or social stigma is alike to saying that ethnic and religious minorities in a country shouldn't have kids because they might face discrimination or social stigma. Are you ready to pass a law to ban minorities from procreating ? Is that what you are saying ?

No, I never said our "hypothetical" Neanderthal should not be born because he would face discrimination. I did say there was a chance this child could suffer psychological problems as a result of said discrimination and the big difference between himself and others.

You have rightly observed such discrimination exists between minorities, and that those looked upon as different are treated differently..so on this we agree. Now how many of those individuals suffer isolation and depression because of that? These are psychological conditions and also on that I am sure we would agree.

Let`s be honest. if such a child were born tomorrow, the interest would be massive ( and that may be understating it) You said in a previous post you saw no reason why he should not live a normal life like any other person, do you really think he would be left to do that?

hope
01-02-13, 13:33
Regarding child isolation issue etc. if Neanderthal cloning will be possible why just make one? :) Why not 10 and thus they will have their group

If they make one Kardu I`m sure they wont stop at that, so yes they would have their group.

Kardu
01-02-13, 14:06
If they make one Kardu I`m sure they wont stop at that, so yes they would have their group.

Yes, I think too.
I was musing for argument's sake :)
In general I agree with you. No good will come out of Neanderthal cloning. Too many unsolved/unsolvable peacefully social/ethical problems in the world. Why artificially create a new one...

Yetos
01-02-13, 15:02
This comment is completely irrelevant to this discussion. Neanderthals are partially alive in all of us.

I think you don't get what I wanted to say, or i did not express my shelve correct,

yes Neanderdal lives partially among us but non of us say 'I am Neanderdalis',
and since we all are partially Nenderdals means they can be perfect factories for vaccines.

so their 'resurection' could be for what?

1) to use them as factories for vaccines?
2) to use them to cure cancers?
3) to use them instead of hamsters or guinea pigs?
4) to use them as an exhibit in an isolated island or a zoo?

my intension in post was to pass a sarcastic feeling,
I mean, the whole case has to do with the ability of a scientist to clone Neanderdal?
or the need to clone Neanderdal?

If Neanderdal could mate and give fertile descendants with Sapiens then it is the same to clone a human.

Maciamo
01-02-13, 15:20
Regarding child isolation issue etc. if Neanderthal cloning will be possible why just make one? :) Why not 10 and thus they will have their group

Indeed, why not. It would be better for them socially. They wouldn't feel completely singled out.

Kardu
01-02-13, 15:22
yes Neanderdal lives partially among us but non of us say 'I am Neanderdalis',
and since we all are partially Nenderdals means they can be perfect factories for vaccines.



According to autosomal results interpretation magic presumably I have 2.8% Neanderthal ancestry :)

But I am full of doubts, as so far no one was able to convincingly demonstrate why don't we have any Neanderthal YDNA or MtDNA.

Maciamo
01-02-13, 15:32
Let`s be honest. if such a child were born tomorrow, the interest would be massive ( and that may be understating it) You said in a previous post you saw no reason why he should not live a normal life like any other person, do you really think he would be left to do that?

I think you are overestimating the interest of the general population for genetics and anthropology. The truth is 99% of the people don't care at all about genetics, anthropology, developmental psychology and the like. When I discovered personal genomics test like 23andMe, I thought it was so amazing that everybody would want to take the test if they had the financial means. Now the price has fallen to a very democratic 99$, and I still find it nearly impossible to convince anybody (family or friends), even people in the medical profession, to take the test, or even show a little interest for it. The same is true for population genetics in general. This is completely beyond me. I just cannot understand why educated people would not want to learn about their origins, the roots of humanity, the genetic make-up of European countries, and so on. Most people just don't care. Why do they care about iPad, TV dramas, and football, but cannot gather the slightest interest for genetics ? That is one of the great mysteries of life, as far as I am concerned, and I am sure others on this forum have had similar experiences with their entourage. So no, I do not think that the birth of a Neanderthal child would gather nearly as much interest as the birth of Prince William and Kate's first baby. I would be surprised if the media coverage for the Neanderthal baby got 1% of the royal baby's attention. Be realistic, 99.99% of the people don't even know that they have Neanderthal genes in them, nor what exactly what a Neanderthal is.

Maciamo
01-02-13, 15:34
Yes, I think too.
I was musing for argument's sake :)
In general I agree with you. No good will come out of Neanderthal cloning. Too many unsolved/unsolvable peacefully social/ethical problems in the world. Why artificially create a new one...

I am sure there will be more scientists to love and care about this Neanderthal baby that there are for most babies born in 'ordinary families'.

hope
01-02-13, 15:51
So no, I do not think that the birth of a Neanderthal child would gather nearly as much interest as the birth of Prince William and Kate's first baby. I would be surprised if the media coverage for the Neanderthal baby got 1% of the royal baby's attention. Be realistic, 99.99% of the people don't even know that they have Neanderthal genes in them, nor what exactly what a Neanderthal is.


You might be over-estimating the interest regarding William and Kates baby...although I am sure it will be rather large.
Unfortunately not all people need to understand what a Neanderthal is in order to discriminate.
On the rest of your post I absolutely agree with the sentiment.

hope
01-02-13, 15:55
Yes, I think too.
I was musing for argument's sake :)
In general I agree with you. No good will come out of Neanderthal cloning. Too many unsolved/unsolvable peacefully social/ethical problems in the world. Why artificially create a new one...

Well IMO, that`s pretty much hitting the nail on the head Kardu :)

nordicwarrior
01-02-13, 16:28
I think you are overestimating the interest of the general population for genetics and anthropology. The truth is 99% of the people don't care at all about genetics, anthropology, developmental psychology and the like. When I discovered personal genomics test like 23andMe, I thought it was so amazing that everybody would want to take the test if they had the financial means. Now the price has fallen to a very democratic 99$, and I still find it nearly impossible to convince anybody (family or friends), even people in the medical profession, to take the test, or even show a little interest for it. The same is true for population genetics in general. This is completely beyond me. I just cannot understand why educated people would not want to learn about their origins, the roots of humanity, the genetic make-up of European countries, and so on. Most people just don't care. Why do they care about iPad, TV dramas, and football, but cannot gather the slightest interest for genetics ? That is one of the great mysteries of life, as far as I am concerned, and I am sure others on this forum have had similar experiences with their entourage.

Could not agree more. Why everyone isn't obsessed or even concerned with their personal genetic code is a complete mystery to me too. But Maciamo, lately I have noticed a few folks listening with tilted ear when the subject is brought up. Some seemed almost frightened by DNA haplogroups--like it's taboo or something. Anybody else notice this reaction?

Kardu
01-02-13, 16:42
I am sure there will be more scientists to love and care about this Neanderthal baby that there are for most babies born in 'ordinary families'.

Oh, I do not doubt that, but she or he would not have a 'normal' life as an adult and out of safety cocoon...

oriental
02-02-13, 01:42
As I earlier mentioned in another thread let Church use his wife or daughter to incubate the Neanderthal that way the Neanderthal is actually his relative. IF it is a big mistake let him and the Neanderthal suffer the consequences. If it is boon then his family will be enriched. I think as a child Church may have watched 'Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde' and saw that if the experiment is wrong it could lead to a nasty end. One thing should be noted. It was written during a period where scientists had a code of honour. They experimented on themselves thus if if things go wrong they are to blame and no on else would be harmed or minimized.

Now he is asking for a "volunteer" putting himself above others so he does not sugffer the consequences of his good/bad decision.

LeBrok
02-02-13, 03:06
Unless I missed some vital articles recently I had a perception that we managed only to decipher about half of Neanderthal DNA. There is still half of it missing to even start enlisting women to carry it in a womb.
Regardless, even if we manage to get the full one, I don't think it will be a working copy. After 30 thousand years many letters inside DNA will be missing making is useless for quick transplant into human egg. I don't think we have a technology, or will have on in the close future, to fix genome, or make a new one, letter by letter. Technically it will be possible, but who will give them billions of dollars to play with it for decades?
We might revisit this thread in 50 or 100 years when technology makes it possible and cheap, and I can put one of them in my kitchen. :) It just beats me what for? Do we lack races and varieties on this planet or people in general?
He is not going to tell us how it was way back then, to teach us history that we missed, to be really useful.

nordicwarrior
02-02-13, 04:41
Oriental, that's pure genius. What a great solution. I think I may have a slight improvement though, what if we have his own daughter carry the Neanderthal "experiment" instead of his wife? Quality assurance wouldn't be an issue.

Maciamo
02-02-13, 10:10
Unless I missed some vital articles recently I had a perception that we managed only to decipher about half of Neanderthal DNA. There is still half of it missing to even start enlisting women to carry it in a womb.

That's a good point.

Maciamo
02-02-13, 10:15
As I earlier mentioned in another thread let Church use his wife or daughter to incubate the Neanderthal that way the Neanderthal is actually his relative. IF it is a big mistake let him and the Neanderthal suffer the consequences. If it is boon then his family will be enriched. I think as a child Church may have watched 'Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde' and saw that if the experiment is wrong it could lead to a nasty end. One thing should be noted. It was written during a period where scientists had a code of honour. They experimented on themselves thus if if things go wrong they are to blame and no on else would be harmed or minimized.

Now he is asking for a "volunteer" putting himself above others so he does not sugffer the consequences of his good/bad decision.

His wife would be too old. How do you know he has a daughter ?

Whoever carries this Neanderthal baby will be remembered by history as one of the great pioneers of scientific advancement, just like when Neil Armstrong first set foot on the Moon. Imagine, the first woman to give birth to a previously extinct subspecies of human ! How exciting !

Yetos
02-02-13, 13:50
So we are talking about the Ability and Glory to make a clone of a Human being,

and not aout the need to do so, or how that Human will feel in a different world,

the glory of Give life, no matter the need or the course and emotions of the creation,

I was always got scared when I was watching movies about Frankestein



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uebg79nKWDU



in 1978 there was a movie about cloning, Boys from Brazil with Gregory Peck
much even before Dolly's birth,

if someone wants to watch it, here is a link

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H58H_kAZZsY

PS
what I am afraid is the Virtue of that scientific effort
cause science without Virtue is not wise as Aristotle said,

nordicwarrior
02-02-13, 14:21
Maciamo, Oriental is referring to the fact that many scientists are for experimenting on the human condition, as long as it's ANOTHER human's condition. The GMO controversy here in America is a prime example of that... I could make a list of utterly horrible experiments continued in the name of science (by multiple nations), but it's early morning here and I don't want to start the day too depressed. We should take the "what's good for the goose is good for the gander" approach.

nordicwarrior
02-02-13, 14:27
If I had more time, I'd post a link to the WWII U.S. Army Captain, who rather than subject his men to dangerous G force experiments, acutally completed them on himself. I think he still has the world record for highest G force ever survived. There's a video of him surviving a high speed rocket rail stop-- he thought his eyes were going to pop out of his skull. They didn't thankfully; but his eyes did bleed and turned black, he briefly lost vision, but luckily he did fully recover.

Now that's taking one for the team.

oriental
02-02-13, 23:25
His wife would be too old. How do you know he has a daughter ?

It doesn't have to be as mentioned but any family member would do.


Imagine, the first woman to give birth to a previously extinct subspecies of human ! How exciting !

Exciting NOT! Dolly the first sheep cloned died suddenly. The fusion of the sperm with egg in a natural process leads to a natural and healthy creature. Cloning involves an electric shock to fuse the genes. We know that Electromagnetic (EMF) waves can cause cancer and other disturbances. Who knows how the electric shock may have affected the organic genes. Cloning is a questionable process as applied to humans especially. This Neanderthal could suddenly die despite showing perfect external sign of perfect health.

Genetics is in its infancy and there is a lot yet to be learned. For a decade or two there was talk of JUNK DNA. Ten years ago in another forum I pointed out it was not JUNK but an evolutionary trail of humans. Just like a city the old buildings shows the history of the city. I am not even a scientist and I pointed this out. It shows the calibre of the geneticists.

Genetics also has a murky beginning. Watson and Frick without Franklin's knowledge took her x-rays of DNA and came out with the double helix. Watson had worked on a single helix and it was not proving successful. They were afraid of Linus Pauling who had already won two Nobel Prizes. Pauling also had a single helix in the works. Franklin was never mentioned. She died of cancer from all the x-ray exposure. There is much greed in biotechnology. First walk before running.

LeBrok
03-02-13, 00:36
The fusion of the sperm with egg in a natural process leads to a natural and healthy creature.
Natural yes, healthy mostly.
We only play "god" for couple of decades on genetic level, and will take some time to understand all and improve technics to much or even exceed natural quality.
Nature had almost a billion of years to experiment in sexing department, and still is far from being perfect, in human understanding of this term. It is estimated that about half of all human pregnancies are terminated, by nature, in first month, due to genetic complications of a fetus. One in 5 people or more live all life with some substantial genetic abnormalities (joint toes, week heart, "slow" in school and work, blind, etc) and die prematurely. To be honest I was never impressed much with nature, the blind and not caring "mother nature".
I'm sure that in the future, once we completely understand how it works, we'll be able to improve upon design. And with human genius we can do this in hundred years, in what took a billion for blind nature.

By no means I'm advocating alienating ourselves from nature. We are very in tune with our environment generally speaking, and for our own health shouldn't change it too much. I'm barely musing about improving and perfecting few things, so at the end of a day, we all will be beautiful, healthy and smart. :)



I'm sure there will be some more effort in the future to bring back some extinct species. Most animals won't survive just because today's environment is different. For example, dinosaurs were used to 40% oxygen (21% today) in denser hotter and very moist air, their plant food source changed too, plus all their digestive bacterial flora (essential to digest food) is gone too.
With the Neanderthals it will be easier because of short time laps since their demise, and earth not changing much since. But they would certainly have a problem adopting to agricultural/industrial way of life, or coping with addictive substances like alcohol and other drugs. Same problems experienced on big scale by aboriginal people of Australia or Canadian prairies, the pure hunter gatherers.

To be honest I'm not looking forward to recreation of extinct species. But I wouldn't mind growing parts of them to see how they look. Let's grow dinosaur skin to finely see how it looked, with feathers or not.
Our genetic knowledge will grow fast, and soon we will be in a position to tell, just by looking at DNA, what the animal looked like, what it ate, etc, without growing it in our labs. We will put DNA into super computer and it could show the full animal, how it moved, or what sounds it made, and see it in 3D.

What about future pets though?
PS. Can you imagine what weird pets people will have in the future, giving the technology? Maybe little griffin for someone, or a little flying dragon? Like T-rex looking lizard?

nordicwarrior
04-02-13, 20:41
If I had more time, I'd post a link to the WWII U.S. Army Captain, who rather than subject his men to dangerous G force experiments, acutally completed them on himself. I think he still has the world record for highest G force ever survived. There's a video of him surviving a high speed rocket rail stop-- he thought his eyes were going to pop out of his skull. They didn't thankfully; but his eyes did bleed and turned black, he briefly lost vision, but luckily he did fully recover.

Now that's taking one for the team.

Just to clarify... the person I referred to is named John Paul Stapp M.D. PhD. He was a Colonel in the United States Air Force, and the main body of the afore mentioned experiments took place in the mid 1950's. Sorry for the confusion. The rest of it was accurate though, he really did take a few for the home team!

oriental
05-02-13, 02:25
They are preparing Mars as they know they are screwing Earth.

nordicwarrior
05-02-13, 02:32
Oriental, have you seen the NASA space shuttle videos of the hundreds of moving lights they claim are "space dust"? For some reason these lights hover over storm clouds-- maybe to recharge? Also, the elderly astronauts that went to the moon are now talking, and they openingly admit to seeing/being followed by alien craft.

Youtube is the great equalizer!

LeBrok
05-02-13, 02:42
Oriental, have you seen the NASA space shuttle videos of the hundreds of moving lights they claim are "space dust"? For some reason these lights hover over storm clouds-- maybe to recharge? Also, the elderly astronauts that went to the moon are now talking, and they opening admit to seeing/being followed by alien craft.

Youtube is the great equalizer!
I can see the spirituality gene in you. :grin:

nordicwarrior
05-02-13, 02:54
I believe God is All-Powerful, All-Knowing, and Everywhere and therefore He would reign over space aliens, light beings, inter-dimensional travellers just as He reigns over humans. Humans are just a small part of the overall plan, but He loves us all.

Twilight
05-02-13, 03:44
Sure if you can encourage the scientists to successfully prove that the pros are better than the cons to bring back an extinct species

nordicwarrior
05-02-13, 03:57
If you're a supporter of the advancement of science, it might be fruitful at this juncture to review a study called the Milgram Experiment.

Plot spoiler--the vast majority of test subjects took the meter to 450 volts. While I very much appreciate most of the gains we've made as a species, we have to constantly apply rigous morality tests to genetic exploration like this. This is human life we are talking about and life is sacred.

oriental
09-02-13, 02:32
the NASA space shuttle videos of the hundreds of moving lights

No. I used to listen to art bell. That Nicola Tesla was really something. Art Bell talked about the Harp Project in Alaska with high energy broadcasts to alter weather patterns. I think Tesla tried to transfer energy through air but with air's high resistance he ended up creating lightning. His demonstration to J.P. Morgan to finance ended in failure and Morgan shut him down. Those lightnings scared the residents of the town as it affected the town's lighting as well, I think.

My thoughts on the firm getting a patent on the family's disease is a breach of trust. A doctor is supposed to protect his/her clients information. This firm was acting in a "doctor" role by getting the genome of the disease but instead obtained a patent without the patient's approval.

frankmiller11
10-07-13, 10:49
hey! are neanderthals the modern day humans?
i thaught it was cromagnums.

The Gheg
25-08-14, 15:41
I think we should bring back people from our ancient civilizations as well, like ancient greeks, illyrians, egyptians and early homo sapiens just to see if they looked any different before all the mixing. being able to see a living Neanderthal in my lifetime would be amazing though...