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10/8/09

Cloning Neanderthals: Within Our Reach

Let's say that our cousins the Neanderthals can be cloned and brought back to life. Although our ancestors wiped them out, rendered them extinct, we modern humans allegedly have found a way to bring them back. That is, "a team of researchers led by geneticist Svante Pääbo at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, Germany" have. They have "completed a draft sequence of the genome of Neanderthal humans."

Mind you, they won't be brought back because of compassion for having rendered them extinct. Rather, "evolutionary biologists believe that comparing the Neanderthal genome with our own will throw considerable light on the genetic changes that gave us our big brains, language, and the ability to create culture."

How much will it cost? Some say about $30 million, peanuts with the right grants and sponsors.

There is an ethical problem in all of this. "Neanderthals are human beings, too. The ancestral lineage that led to both Neanderthals and modern humans diverged from the chimpanzee line nearly 6 million years ago.Archaeological evidence also indicates that Neanderthals behaved in ways similar to modern humans. They controlled fire, wore clothing, made and used tools, and buried their dead."

The same laws that protect us, must protect them. They would not be chimpanzees in a laboratory. More.

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