That’s something you don’t hear every day! Professor George Church thinks he’s found a cure for HIV—and epidemics, and global warming! Sound too good to be true? Church helped create the Human Genome Project, which aims to sequence and identify over 3 billion chemical units that make up genomes. But now he’s thinking bigger, and believes he has pieced together enough Neanderthal DNA from fossilized specimens to produce a clone. All that’s missing a hospitable womb—and the government’s approval!
“We can clone all kinds of mammals, so it’s very likely that we could clone a human,” Church explained. “Why shouldn’t we be able to do so?” Most scientists and governments cite a code of ethics, which is disturbed by scientific exploitation of a human. Basically, yes, we could clone people successfully, but then what? Would they be test subjects, or free to live normal lives? Would it end up like that movie where the clones live on an island and are killed for their organs? Right now, most countries have bans on human cloning, preventing Church from continuing his experiments. You can be sure that this will change.
Church believes that cavemen could prove to be more intelligent than modern humans, due to their larger craniums. Right, that’s why they died out or were absorbed into the human gene pool – because they were so smart… He posits that they could provide answers to many modern problems, and mused, “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. They could maybe even create a new neo-Neanderthal culture and become a political force.” Oh great, just what we need! More people, and more politics!
There will be years of legal bits to slough through, and then a willing surrogate mother will need to be found, who can be implanted with the embryo and eventually birth it. This entire situation gives me the heebie-jeebies! Sure, it could be a huge breakthrough in science, and it’s remarkable that Church has gotten this far. But it isn’t a scientist’s job to ask should we, only can we. The moral debate is left up to us. So should scientists begin human cloning, or is it cruel to the clone? Can human cloning be worse than what people do to each other even today? Just read the news sometime. Have we pushed the boundaries of science too far? Would you ever rent out your uterus for a Neanderthal baby? Everything has a price!