Leading geneticist plans to recreate Neanderthal man with surrogate mother
Proposed plan so brazen, it may fall outside the scope of current law.
It's an idea so far-fetched, that it's difficult to begin to conceive of how, or why, a scientist might manage to clone and produce, a Neanderthal man. Although fraught with ethical concerns, Professor David Church of Harvard Medical School would like to do just that and believes he can, if he only finds a woman willing to be a surrogate.
Neanderthal men looked similar to modern humans, with a few notable differences. This is a waxen model.
He is now looking to forge ahead.
Professor Church does his work at Harvard Medical School and gained fame by helping to initiate the Human Genome Project which successfully mapped all known human DNA.
Church's proposal would involve using reconstructed Neanderthal DNA and injecting it into human stem cells. Those cells would form a Neanderthal baby that would have to be carried by a surrogate mother.
However, the proposal is an ethical nightmare, since essentially Church would be playing God by manipulating life in the laboratory. Even if a child of Neanderthal lineage could be born, then what next? The very notion almost invokes the cautionary tales of the Island of Dr. Moreau, or Jurassic Park.
According to anthropologists, Neanderthal men (Homo Sapiens Neanderthalensis) were humans, although a slightly different species from ours (Homo Sapiens Sapiens) with some physical distinctions. They were generally shorter than us and had slightly larger brains. They were excellent hunters who ate meat almost exclusively. They flourished in Europe during the last ice age and are usually the ones we think of when we think of "cave men."
They also appear to have practiced some form of religion, ritually burying their dead.
Despite their larger brains and robust build, anthropologists believe they went extinct around 30,000 years ago as modern humans competed for resources and the climate warmed, changing the environment. Neanderthal man was not able to adapt.
There is no evidence to suggest they interbred with modern humans, despite occupying the same territory at times.
To foster a human life in the laboratory for scientific principles, stands in opposition to morals and ethics, both scientific and Christian. Human life, even if primitive, should not to be manipulated to satiate scientific curiosity. Humans have a much higher purpose and while they may devote their lives, and even bodies to science, it must always be a free and conscious decision made by a rational individual.
Unfortunately, Dr. Church's plan to do just that stands in opposition to good science, and good sense.
© 2013, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Neanderthal, David Church, research, cloning, DNA, Island of Dr. Moreau, Jurassic Park
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