Neanderthal Clone: Harvard Professor Seeks 'Adventurous' Woman To Birth Test Tube Baby Caveman

By Danny Choy on January 21, 2013 3:11 PM EST

Neanderthal
Harvard Medical's Professor George Church successfully reconstructed the DNA of a prehistoric Neanderthal. A proposition for a human-hybrid clone is in the works. (Photo: Reuters)

Professor George Church and his research team at Harvard Medical School claimed that they have successfully reconstructed the 33,000-year-old DNA of a prehistoric Neanderthal. The next step? You guessed it -- resurrection!

The reconstruction of an extinct DNA is no small accomplishment. Church, 58, is a pioneer in synthetic biology and provided major contributions in mapping the human genome. Now, his team successfully analyzed the Neanderthal genetic code via samples from bones to complete the DNA puzzle.

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Reconstructing an ancient Neanderthal DNA is truly remarkable. However, the resurrection of a Neanderthal will prove even more challenging -- professor Church will require a human candidate in order for Church's vision to reach its ultimate goal.

"I need an adventurous female human," said Professor Church. "It depends on a hell of a lot of things, but I think it can be done."

Professor Church is suggesting some serious fringe science. The female candidate will become the surrogate mother for the first birth of a Neanderthal baby in the last 30 millennia.

According to Church, the DNA will be placed into stem cells from a human embryo and then injected with Neanderthal DNA in its earliest stages of life. This will effectively steer the development of the embryo into the Neanderthal species.

The hybrid embryo will grow in the lab for a number of days under observation before implanted into the womb of a surrogate mother.

According to Church, understanding our predecessors will significantly benefit mankind. In fact, Church believes Neanderthals are not the lumbering primitives that we believe. According to studies done to a Neanderthal's skull, their brain mass is roughly the same as a human's, suggesting high intelligence.

"Neanderthals might think differently than we do. They could even be more intelligent than us," said Church.

"When the time comes to deal with an epidemic or getting off the planet, it's conceivable that their way of thinking could be beneficial."

While Church's peers believe that his studies are theoretically possible, most countries strictly prohibit human cloning. In fact, cloning is considered a criminal offense in multiple countries.

Despite the buzz surrounding the new developments, a Neanderthal clone is not without its risks. Scientists believe that a neo-Neanderthal will lack the immune system to properly combat modern diseases. Other risks in stem cell reproduction include deformity. The last concern touches the nerve of ethics.

"I don't think it's fair to put people ... into a circumstance where they are going to be mocked and possibly feared," said bioethicist Bernard Rollin of Colorado State University.

Philippa Taylor of the Christian Medical Fellowship agreed.

"It is hard to know where to begin with the ethical and safety concerns."

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