Harvard geneticist says a Neanderthal can be cloned with the aid of an adventurous woman

A Harvard geneticist named George Church had some interesting things to say during an interview with the German paper Der Spiegel, during which he discussed the cloning of a Neanderthal baby. Among other things, one of the big requirements for such a project is the willingness of a woman to be a surrogate for the child, a scenario that seems straight out of a Hollywood movie.

The method to accomplish this would involve using Neanderthal DNA to reconstruct its genetic code, which would then be applied to human stem cells. This process would be repeated multiple times, each time bringing them closer to that of the Neanderthal. This part of the equation is possible now, according to Church.

"If we do that often enough, then we would generate a stem cell line that would get closer and closer to the corresponding sequence of the Neanderthal. We developed the semi-automated procedure required to do that in my lab. Finally, we assemble all the chunks in a human stem cell, which would enable you to finally create a Neanderthal clone."

The rest of the process is something that won't happen for a long time, however. Cloning itself is still a controversial act, and having a human serve as a surrogate for a Neanderthal clone is not something anywhere in the realm of possibility at this point. Still, Church says that such a move could be beneficial for both the sake of diversity and understanding, with Neanderthals possibly thinking differently than humans as well as offering an evolutionary boost to our species.

[via NBC]