Skip to comments.We May Soon Be Able to Clone Neanderthals. But Should We?
Posted on 02/11/2010 12:18:13 AM PST by 2ndDivisionVet
Last year DISCOVER asked the question, Did We Mate With Neanderthals, or Did We Murder Them? Now, Zach Zorich at Archaeology magazine is asking another big question about our hominid siblings: Should we bring them back?
Thanks to a slew of recent advances, the possibility is getting closer. 80beats reported a year ago that researchers had published the rough draft of the Neanderthal genome. However, thats likely to contain many errors because its so difficult to reconstruct ancient DNA. Within hours of death, cells begin to break down in a process called apoptosis. The dying cells release enzymes that chop up DNA into tiny pieces. In a human cell, this means that the entire three-billion-base-pair genome is reduced to fragments about 50 base-pairs long [Archaeology].
Even if scientists succeed in figuring out the entire Neanderthal genome, theyd be faced with another problem before they could even consider the possibility of cloning one of these ancient hominids: We dont have any living Neanderthal cells to work with. Thus, researchers will have to figure out how to put DNA into chromosomes, and how to get those chromosomes into the nucleus of a cell. What about altering the DNA inside a living human cell, and tweaking our genetic code to match the Neanderthals? This kind of genetic engineering can already be done, but very few changes can be made at one time. To clone a Neanderthal, thousands or possibly millions of changes would have to be made to a human cells DNA [Archaeology].
Even if scientists manage to put Neanderthal DNA in a cell nucleus, their problems arent over. The next step in creating a baby clone is to move the cell nucleus into the egg of a related species in a technique called nuclear transfer, and then implanting the altered egg in a female who can bear it to term. But in this process, which has been extensively tested on animals, cells often get sick or die, causing fetuses to die in the womb or clones to die young. Thats why the vast majority of scientists oppose using this method on people. Even if nuclear transfer cloning could be perfected in humans or Neanderthals, it would likely require a horrifying period of trial and error [Archaeology].
But Archaeology suggests that many of these obstacles will eventually be overcome, and proposes another cloning option: making Neanderthal stem cells. Last year researchers managed to turn mouse skin cells back into a pluripotent state, where they can act like stem cells, and used those to create a cloned mouse. Cloning a Neanderthal is a lot different than cloning a mouse, but if the process worked, a cloned Neanderthal would grow up with their genes expressing they way they were meant to.
Thats the could we. But what about the should we? More work has been done on this than you might think. In 1997, Stuart Newman, a biology professor at New York Medical School attempted to patent the genome of a chimpanzee-human as a means of preventing anyone from creating such a creature [Archaeology]. But he lost his case because the patent office said it would violate the 13th amendment prohibitions against slavery. And since Neanderthals would be even more human, it stands to reason that theyd receive at least some human rights protections.
Rightfully so. But as the bioethicist Bernard Rollin points out in the Archaeology piece, theres more to worry about than the law. While Neanderthals are our close relatives on the evolutionary tree, youd know one if you saw one. Tulane anthropologist Trenton Holliday argues that they could talk and act like us, therefore eventually theyd fit in. But that seems like wishful thinking. With no culture, no peers, and an unknown capacity to cope with the modern world mentally or physically, a Neanderthal would be adriftcaught between a zoo animal and a human being. The main point in cloning one would be for scientists to study it, but as law professor Lori Andrews says, a Neanderthal could be granted enough legal protection to make doing extensive research on it illegal, not just unethical.
Thats not to say there would be no benefits to science. But some things are best left in the past.
Let’s do the mammoths first.
Probably hinges on the definition of whether they are “human” human (LOL!).
I mean, if they are a separate sub-species, it is going to cause problems, a la evolution.
We already have democrats and muslims. Wouldn’t cloning Neanderthals be an expensive duplication of effort?
They had it easy when getting dates. Just hit the girls over the head with a club.
Did we mate with native Americans or did we murder them? Yes and yes. If we can mate with Neanderthals, then they aren't a separate species and therefore they are us. If we couldn't breed with them, then they were a separate species, but there is no way to know if we murdered them or not. Besides, what "we" are they referring to? I am confident that no FReeper has bred OR murdered a Neanderthal. And no, we shouldn't clone anything that is extinct, especially any sentient thing. It would be cruel and possibly dangerous.
That is all we need More Democrats!
Lions and tigers can mate with each other, too.
This article provides us with some good, solid arguments that will be of great practical value once we get rid of the liberals, and somebody proposes bringing them back.
Can’t all cats mate, just as all dogs can?
There are living Neanderthals, I will just leave it at that.
Lions and tigers are separate species, however.
The offspring are sterile because of chromosome incompatibility. This is not the case with cats mating with cats.
Their offspring are hybrids that cannot reproduce to sustain a population.
The Left calls us Neanderthals, we could use some company, I say go for it!
The left is bringing in voters from 3rd world, it is high time we clone ourselves up a fresh batch of Neanderthal-Americans.
Oh, I don't know about this. How “sentient” would an organism have to be before it would be cruel or dangerous? As to bringing an extinct species back, lots of folks wouldn't mind if the Dodo came back, or the Carrier Pigeon, or the Tasmanian Tiger. I mean, if they're back, then they aren't extinct. The Geico Neanderthals get their feelings hurt all the time, but I think they'll get over it eventually.
I like the idea of bringing the Mammoths back. They would keep the bear and mountain lion population down out here where I live. Wouldn't help my landscaping much though. :-(
Neanderthals were sentient. How would you like to be the only member of your species brought back just to be prodded and studied. What would his/her immune system be like in relation to today’s diseases? Where would they fit in? Besides, the 0bama EPA would never allow cloning mammoths because of their carbon footprints.
Do you think we should do the same for the great apes and dolphins too?
NEANDERTHALIAN COMBAT CLONES BY A SPREE....
ThinK ABOUT IT!!
Makes as much sense as trying to clone a Neanderthal.
The neanderthal represents a very advanced, extinct ape, basically the most advanced member of the same family as gorillas and chimpanzees. We are simply not a part of that family and are not related to it other than via similar design in the same way that Ford and Chevy models might be called "related".
Neanderthal DNA is typically described as about halfway between ours and that of a chimpanzee and it's highly likely that, like the great apes, the neanderthal might never have had voluntary control over breathing, which is the only reason that chimps and gorillas cannot be taught to speak English.
“How would you like to be the only member of your species brought back just to be prodded and studied.”
Oh heck, let’s bring a bunch of ‘em back. I don’t care they have some company. They’ll all be bred into the population after a few generations anyway. American melting pot, dontcha’ know.
“0bama EPA would never allow cloning mammoths because of their carbon footprints.”
And I’ll warrant that I wouldn’t “allow” them to make any physical footprints across my precious landscaping either! Mammoth steaks would be yummy though, and I could use their trunks for garden hoses to regrow the grass that they tore up.
C’mon! Let’s give ‘em a chance. We could put ‘em on government assistance till they got on their feet. If they’re a subspecies we could interbreed with them and they’d be just like all the rest of us mongrelized American’s within a hundred years or so. If they’re a separate species, it would present an economic opportunity. We could bring back the plantation system! Instead of using us Irishmen for dangerous jobs, we could impress them danged Neanders. It ain’t like they’re human by definition.
I’m gonna’ go look for some good bottom land if this cloning business catches on.
It would be a lonely, depressed and pathetic being. Especially if it were intelligent enough to understand how it came to be here and why. Given what we know of the way they lived it probably would be smart enough to figure that out.
The year is 1947. Some of you will recall that on July 8, 1947, a little over 60 years ago, witnesses claim that an unidentified flying object(UFO)with five aliens aboard crashed onto a sheep and mule ranch just outside Roswell, New Mexico. This is a well known incident that many say has long been covered up by the U.S. Air Force and other federal agencies and organizations.
However, what you may NOT know is that in the month of April 1948, nine months after that historic day, the following people were born:
Albert A. Gore, Jr..
John F. Kerry
William J. "Bill" Clinton
Charles E. Schumer
See what happens when aliens breed with sheep and jackasses?
I certainly hope this bit of information clears up a lot of things for you. It did for me.
No wonder they support the bill to help illegal aliens!
Not correct. They are the same species as we are, Homo Sapiens. We're Homo Sapiens Sapiens and they were Homo Sapiens Neanderthalis
They wouldn’t breed back into the human population. The DNA studies in the late 90s cleared up the big mystery of there being no evidence of crossbreeding despite neanderthals and modern humans living in close proximity for prolonged periods of time. We could no more interbreed with neanderthals than we could with horses. The neanderthal was not another race, he was another species, gigantic difference.
“They wouldnt breed back into the human population. The DNA studies in the late 90s cleared up the big mystery of there being no evidence of crossbreeding despite neanderthals and modern humans living in close proximity for prolonged periods of time. We could no more interbreed with neanderthals than we could with horses. The neanderthal was not another race, he was another species, gigantic difference.”
...more lib voters?
Well, what about those Gieco guys? Where did they come from?
SEIU central casting.
Oh. Ok. Then they’re not real cavemen huh? :-)
It was in Gardner Dozois' 2th volume of the years best science fiction. Ted Kosmatka’s “N-Words”
“It was in Gardner Dozois’ 2th volume of the years best science fiction”
That was supposed to be “the 26th volume”
With laser beams on their heads.
Now that's funny!
“The neanderthal was not another race, he was another species, gigantic difference.”
Uh oh. If they’re genetically that removed, then it’s more likely the plantation system will be back again. Think of this, they’ll do jobs that North American’s just won’t do as well. We won’t need all those illegal aliens with all of their attendant social costs. Unskilled labor is unskilled labor. It doesn’t matter who does it. If they’re smart enough (and some say the Neanders were not complete idiots) to make it to the work floor, or the field, then they’d smart enough to do a lot of this stuff. And since they aren’t really humans (sentience aside), they’d be prime candidates for exploitation.
Yeah, if sentience is a consideration it would complicate things. Elephants and whales haven’t had it so good at times, but some folks they are sentient as well. You couldn’t prove it as I’ve never lived with a whale or an elephant (but I’ve got a 10 and 12 year old that I’m beginning to wonder about). >:-(
I’d think the Neanderthals would be HIGHLY INSULTED if they were cloned today....
They invented FIRE, and ART as well as PHILOSOPHY.........
They’d look at OTHUGO and say......
YOU BROUGHT US BACK FOR THIS????????????
W at LEAST have a CERTAIN LEVEL OF CIVILIZATION!!!!!!!!!
HOW CAN YOU CALL THIS DUDE CIVILIZED??????????????
Nope. The DNA studies of the 1990s did no such thing. This fiction sure comes up on FR an awful lot though, usually the “citation” is from an unsourced anonymous blurb in an English language “news” source in India.
Thanks James C. Bennett for the ping, and thanks 2ndDivisionVet for posting the topic.To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.The Neandertal EnigmaFrayer's own reading of the record reveals a number of overlooked traits that clearly and specifically link the Neandertals to the Cro-Magnons. One such trait is the shape of the opening of the nerve canal in the lower jaw, a spot where dentists often give a pain-blocking injection. In many Neandertal, the upper portion of the opening is covered by a broad bony ridge, a curious feature also carried by a significant number of Cro-Magnons. But none of the alleged 'ancestors of us all' fossils from Africa have it, and it is extremely rare in modern people outside Europe." [pp 126-127]
· Discover · Nat Geographic · Texas AM Anthro News · Yahoo Anthro & Archaeo · Google ·
· The Archaeology Channel · Excerpt, or Link only? · cgk's list of ping lists ·
"Long time no see!"
We should never ever clone humans of any kind. That’s an abomination.
Oh, those weren’t my words. I thought you might be interested in refuting them, here.
So easy a cave man could do it.
“We May Soon Be Able to Clone Neanderthals. But Should We?”
Can we eat them? If not then I say we clone the large mammals instead. Mammoth and Giant sloth steaks for the starvin’ africans.
You might could make an exception to that in a situation such as is described in Genesis 19:32 in which the survival of the human race on the planet appears at stake; but no way in hell should anybody be cloning neanderthals to see if it could be done.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.