Professor George Church not only believes that he can clone a Neanderthal, but that a extremely adventurous female human” would be able to give birth to one.
According to The Daily Mail, Church, a geneticist and professor of synthetic biology at Harvard University, said he can use fossil samples to recreate the DNA structure of Neanderthals. He said he would then place the DNA inside stem cells, which would in turn be injected into cells from a human embryo for placement inside a human womb.
“Now I need an adventurous female human,” Church said. “It depends on a hell of a lot of things, but I think it can be done.”
Church told the German magazine Der Spiegel that recreating a Neanderthal, a species that has been extinct for more than 33,000 years, could prove beneficial.
“Neanderthals might think differently than we do. We know that they had a larger cranial size,” he said. “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.”
However, Forbes science writer Alex Knapp expressed skepticism about his idea in a column published on Sunday.
“One major obstacle to cloning a Neanderthal is a simple fact of the state of cloning: no human being has yet been cloned,” Knapp wrote. “Now, is it possible to clone a human being? Probably — other mammals have been cloned. But at a cost — clones often experience a host of health problems. And it often takes many attempts for a clone to happen. For example, the first cloned sheep, Dolly, was one of 29 cloned embryos. He was the only one to survive.”
Watch Newsy Science’s report on Church’s plan to clone a Neanderthal, published on January 20, 2013, below.