Sunday, July 31, 2016

Should we clone Neanderthals?

Long discussion at

Cloning a Neanderthal will take a lot more than just an accurately reconstructed genome. Artificially assembling an exact copy of the Neanderthal DNA sequence could be done easily and cheaply with current technology, but a free-floating strand of DNA isn't much good to a cell. "The bigger challenge is--how do you assemble a genome without a cell?" asks James Noonan, a geneticist at Yale University. "How do you package DNA into chromosomes, and get that into a nucleus? We don't know how to do that." The shape of the DNA within the chromosomes affects the way that genes interact with chemicals inside the cell
they write another way would be to take a human cell and make the thousands of necessary  changes into that cell's DNA....

Or to insert Neaderthal DNA into a human blastocyst. (early human embryo).

Experimenting on human beings used to be considered ethically wrong, until the bioethicists decided that early human embryos were not really human persons. Since the ultimate goal is to call anyone not meeting the "criteria for personhood" (including infants and brain damaged adults) as a human being with rights, you can see where this is going.

ah, but are Neaderthals human?

Genetically, since there is evidence that humans and Neanderthals did interbreed, it would mean yes, one is making a human being.

of course, in a world where religious voices are sidelines and "secular" bioethicists often are "apologists for death" (to use Nat Hentoff's phrase), why stop at experimenting with Neanderthal/human clones?

Well, awhile back the Brits were discussing if a genetically altered pig (a chimera manufactured to get organs to donate), with a large amount of DNA, could be self aware or considered human.

And the British bishops said: Well, better to err on the side of the good and treat them so.

The bishops, who believe that life begins at conception, said that they opposed the creation of any embryo solely for research, but they were also anxious to limit the destruction of such life once it had been brought into existence. In their submission to the committee, they said: “At the very least, embryos with a preponderance of human genes should be assumed to be embryonic human beings, and should be treated accordingly.
so, would you adopt him as a human being, or use him to experiment on?

Encino man or Never Let Me Go....

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