January 21, 2013

"Wanted: Harvard seeks 'adventurous woman' to give birth to cloned Neanderthal baby..."

Second photo down in the right-hand column at Drudge right now:



Link goes to the Daily Mail:
Professor George Church of Harvard Medical School... said: ‘Now I need an adventurous female human. It depends on a hell of a lot of things, but I think it can be done.’
So Drudge changed the quote, substituting "female human" for "woman," actually making the scientist seem less creepy.
He told German magazine Der Spiegel: ‘Neanderthals might think differently than we do. They could even be more intelligent than us.'
Clue to creepy scientists: When you've got a proposal for an edgy medical experiment on human beings — especially when it implies a dream of an improved species — don't use Germans to get your message out.

In fairness to Church... I'm going to assume he's just horsing around, cogitating about what is possible, and that he's certainly not currently seeking that adventurous female human.

35 comments:

kentuckyliz said...

If the Neanderthals were smarter than us, they would have survived.

Bob said...

I immediately thought to myself, David Axelrod will love this! A whole race of Obama voters! And Iowahawk went there, too.

bardseyeview said...

Honey, the Overton window isn't where we left it last night.

wyo sis said...

That's exactly what my friends and I were discussing at book club the other day. You know, what we really need right now is a giant step backward on the evolutionary chain.

chickelit said...

How is this not a step backwards in evolution?

Meade said...

"don't use Germans to get your message out".

Mark said...

Don't most Europeans and most Asians have 3 to 5% Neanderthal DNA? It is not like they fully disappeared in the first place, given we interbred back in the day.

How long before someone takes the Drudge story as a source and runs with a confirmed story that this is underway?
You know it is going to happen ....

Amexpat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dbp said...

It would certainly be interesting to know how well Neanderthals can communicate, reason and get along with others. The big drawback is that, given the cloning process is unperfected, how would we know we got a representative Neanderthal? He might be a retard compared to the ones which naturally existed.

ricpic said...

The Neanderthal baby will have no Neanderthal buddies as it grows up, but that matters not to the heartless Harvardians. Or is step two the introduction of Neandertrhalians into the USA with protected status?

Amexpat said...

Saw this on Drudge and was pretty sure it would warrant a post here.

The line, It depends on a hell of a lot of things, but I think it can be done, made me think of this song fragment.

"Now the rovin’ gambler he was very bored
He was tryin’ to create a next world war
He found a promoter who nearly fell off the floor
He said I never engaged in this kind of thing before
But yes I think it can be very easily done
We’ll just put some bleachers out in the sun
And have it on Highway 61

Bob said...

I'm worried about Neanderthals taking our jobs,myself.

Mitchell the Bat said...

They should go ahead with this so we can make it extinct all over again.

Temujin said...

Great. Just what we need: another class of victims to be heralded with their own 'Studies' department in universities. "Hi. I graduated with a degree in Neanderthal Studies. Trying to break the HomoSapien-influenced society that we live in, you know"

We'll get the whole bag of goods: Neanderthal activists. Neanderthal hiring quotas. It'll start on local TV news stations with your friendly Neanderthal Weather guy/gal. Within a few years you'll have a Neanderthal with a nasty scowl on her face staring at you from behind the counter at the DMV. Not good.

Current victims groups better start preparing. They'll soon be moving from the oppressed to the oppressors.

LarsPorsena said...

The perfect 'John' for one of those struggling female NY undergrads looking for a Sugar Daddy. Plus she could get extra credit in biology and anthropology.

wyo sis said...

Hey, We did this already. Remember? "It's so easy a caveman could do it."

Bob Boyd said...

Remember SNL's
Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer

http://videosift.com/video/SNL-Unfrozen-Caveman-Lawyer

TomHynes said...

I want to take the kid to see Planet of the Apes.

William said...

Look at that pronounced forehead ridge. My guess is that Neanderthals are less susceptible to concussive injuries. This could be the saving of the NFL. More research and soon please.

Seeing Red said...

Why is the link going to the Daily Mail? Didn't either Boston paper cover this?

pm317 said...

"female human" as in a specimen. Thank God we have moved on from being just specimens.

edutcher said...

Actually, any of the women shown in the DM sidebar would probably qualify nicely.

bagoh20 said...

I bet he becomes a star hockey player.

bagoh20 said...

Personally, I miss the Ice age. It was nice to be able to blame your problems on mother nature rather than the other way around.

traditionalguy said...

Is he admitting the obvious that Homo Sapiens are not evolved Neanderthals but are created differently than Darwin Hypothesized.

wholelottasplainin' said...

He looks like Mel Brooks in "Blazing Saddles".

Synova said...

It sounded like he wasn't anywhere near the point in the process where he'd need a womb. There would have to be a lot of conceptions and tests in the lab first.

As for adventurous... it seems like (and certainly was) a bad old science fiction movie. (In other words, "It's been done.") But why not?

I don't think that a woman would have to be exceptionally adventurous either. Clones of anything or anyone just aren't that shocking. And we Northern Europeans are part Neanderthal already. If something about this bothers me it's the certain necessity of viable "waste" in the process. It's not the living, or even honestly miscarried or unviable, Neanderthal babies that pose a moral problem, it's the ones created and then destroyed on purpose. And there would be.

deborah said...

I read a scifi short story once where scientists had managed to reach back in time and snag a young cave boy. They hired a nanny for him, an older woman. Now, as you may know, if you send back more matter into the past than you extracted, YOU WILL CHANGE THE COURSE OF HISTORY. So the time came to send him back, and in order to leave the boy had to pull the cord above his head. The nanny went to explain this to him, and before anyone could stop her, she pulled the cord and they both went back into the past.

Sam L. said...

there was a link from the article on the gun owners demonstrations to one on this, and it did ave "adventurous woman" in the hed.

deborah said...

I went to high school with two brothers who had actual caveman looks.

YoungHegelian said...

I imagine that there are already lots of women who think they're carrying a Neanderthal's baby.

Darrell said...

If it ever does happen, the real question is how long before the first Democrat uses Neanderthal minority status to get a job at Harvard?

Cedarford said...

Bob said...
I immediately thought to myself, David Axelrod will love this! A whole race of Obama voters! And Iowahawk went there, too.

--------------
Why? Obama has already got a whole race of blind Obama supporters.

And if we are going to do eugenics, we should do eugenics for improving humanity, not satisfying curiosity on archaic species.

We have lived with the lie of sending money to "CURE!" intractible genetic diseases too long.
The only way you will cure cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, families of women that all get aggressive breast cancer before age 40 is by eugenics to eliminate the bad genes or by genetic engineering.

JackOfClubs said...

Jasper Fforde, call your office!

Michael McNeil said...

Don't most Europeans and most Asians have 3 to 5% Neanderthal DNA?

That figure has been refined to a 2.5% — and it's basically all non (sub Saharan) Africans who incorporate that — proportion of Neanderthal ancestry. (Then there are the Denisovans… which are also mentioned below.)

And just in time for the “cloning Neanderthals” proposal (maybe it's no coincidence) is the news that techniques for deciphering the (nuclear DNA) genomes of antique humans such as Neanderthals have recently been enormously refined.

As the journal Science makes note during its consideration of the scientific “breakthroughs of the year” (2012) last month:

Two years ago, paleogeneticists made our short list for Breakthrough of the Year for publishing the complete sequence of the nuclear genome of the Neandertals. In 2011, the same lab shared our spotlight for piecing together the genome of the Denisovans, an archaic human that lived in Siberia at least 50,000 years ago. But those ancient DNA sequences and others were blurry snapshots next to the high-resolution genomes that researchers can now sequence from living people. Much of the fragile DNA from fossils is degraded into single strands that automatic sequencers can't copy. Researchers were resigned to deciphering only parts of the code of ancient genomes, whether from archaic humans, animals, or pathogens.

This year, however, a persistent postdoc developed a remarkable new method that enabled his team to revisit the Denisovan DNA and sequence it 31 times over. The resulting genome, of a girl who lived in Siberia's Denisova Cave, reveals her genetic material in the same sharp, rich detail that researchers typically get from the DNA of living people. This technological feat promises to give a major boost to the field of ancient DNA, as researchers begin to apply the method to other samples and species.

Ancient DNA researchers typically have adapted the tools used to sequence DNA from living humans, which start with samples of double-stranded DNA. But ancient DNA usually breaks into single strands. So postdoc Matthias Meyer at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, set out to sequence single-stranded ancient DNA from scratch. He failed at first, but then managed to bind special molecules to the ends of a single DNA strand, holding it in place for sequencing. As a result, using only 6 milligrams of bone from the Siberian girl's pinky finger, Meyer and colleagues were able to copy 99.9% of her genome at least once and 92% of the genome 20 times — the benchmark for reliably identifying nucleotide positions.

The results confirmed that Denisovans interbred with the ancestors of some living humans; people living in parts of island Southeast Asia have inherited about 3% of their nuclear DNA from Denisovans. The genome literally offers a glimpse of the girl, suggesting that she had brown eyes, brown hair, and brown skin. It also allowed the team to use DNA to estimate that the girl died between 74,000 and 82,000 years ago — the first time researchers had used genomic information to date an archaic human. The high quality of the genome gives researchers a powerful new tool to fish for genes that have recently evolved, providing a “near-complete” catalog of the handful of genetic changes that separate us from Denisovans, who were close kin to Neandertals.

These details are all the more remarkable because the Denisovans are so poorly known from fossils: Only a tiny scrap of finger bone and two molars have been reliably assigned to them so far. In contrast, the Neandertals are known from hundreds of fossils but from a much less complete genome.

Neandertal experts may catch up soon. Meyer and colleagues have been trying “Matthias's method” on fossil samples that previously failed to yield much DNA. A detailed Neandertal genome comparable to the Denisovan one is expected in 2013.

(end quote)