Tuesday, January 22, 2013

George Church unfortunately backs off Neanderthal cloning

Here. I've been busy this weekend - this is one of those stories I wanted to post but didn't get a chance to. I don't understand why this is such a bad thing.

Look, these guys will be very human. I'd prefer we try it with mammoths first so we don't bring forth a humanoid that is going to have a miserable existence because of some mistake. The fact is you can put down a mammoth gone awry in a way that we probably shouldn't be putting down neanderthals.

But once we make that "make sure you can do it right" point, I don't see what all the hubbub was about. This seems like an excellent thing to pursue.


  1. That is not dead
    which can eternal lie,
    after strange aeons
    even death may die.

  2. On the one hand, it's an attractive notion from a moral standpoint: Neanderthals were a a brother species, who died out possibly because of competition from our branch of Homo sapiens, and it would be an excellent thing to restore them to the world.

    I'm noting resistence to the idea elsewhere in the blogosphere. Some people make the assumption that the Neanderthals were intellectually inferior to us, with IQs in the "35-65 range." This seems improbable; Neanderthals had larger brains than our own, and evidently had no problems in acquiring at least some parts of Homo sapiens culture. We presumably had much the same type of brain, in other words, did the same sort of thinking and felt the same kind of emotions.

    Other hand, it's been argued by some anthropologists (most visibly on the internet by John Hawkes)that modern humans have evolved quite considerably in the past ten thousand years or so, thanks to the population growth made possible by agriculture. Presumably the Neanderthal "clones" that biologists might create today would be basically modern human genomes with a sprinkling of Neanderthal gene alleles. Arguably, these wouldn't be "real" Neanderthals any more than modern humans are "real" Cro Magnons.

  3. I dunno Daniel. If we do it with a Neanderthal, imagine the fun watching Bob and Gene squirm about his soul.


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