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Should A Neanderthal Be Cloned?


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#1 Moontanman

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 02:43 PM

This topic is evidently being bandied about but the idea at this time is closer to pure speculation than reality according to this article.
 
http://us.cnn.com/20....html?hpt=hp_c3
 
But if we can should we? Clone one? A small group? Could neanderthal DNA added back to our gene pool increase the over all fitness of the human race? Is there any defensible reason to do so? Would anyone even notice?

#2 Guest_MacPhee_*

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 01:41 PM

It would certainly be a fascinating experiment to clone a Neanderthal man.

He might be just what we need nowadays. The present-day Homo Sapiens species seems to be sadly declining into an effete rut. We could do with an invigorating Neanderthal "blast from the past". It would give our genes a fresh kick.

Female scientists, especially, may enthuse. If a full-grown Neanderthal man was recreated, I bet he'd have a really good time.

#3 Deepwater6

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 04:31 PM

I would not be in favor of cloning a neanderthal. If we are trying to see what the creature was like in it's time and in it's habitat it can't happen because it will grow up in our time. It has no adult neanderthals to show him the mannerisms of his kind. Although it's brain might not be as fully developed as ours no doubt. It would probably try to emulate at least some of what other human childern and adults around it are doing. Since it's brain is not as developed as ours it may come off as a child with a mental disability.

However I don't buy the anti-argument in the article about who would care for such things. I would be a proponent of cloning animals from that era. arrangements could be made to study and protect these animals and alot of evolutionary knowledge could be gained from it. Zoo's from around the world have no problem keeping all kinds of animals on site. Would there really be that much of a difference between an elephant and mastodon other than size? Of course a zoo with a mastadon will be charging you accordingly I'm sure.

Edited by Deepwater6, 25 February 2013 - 04:32 PM.


#4 Moontanman

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 04:40 PM

I would not be in favor of cloning a neanderthal. If we are trying to see what the creature was like in it's time and in it's habitat it can't happen because it will grow up in our time. It has no adult neanderthals to show him the mannerisms of his kind. Although it's brain might not be as fully developed as ours no doubt. It would probably try to emulate at least some of what other human childern and adults around it are doing. Since it's brain is not as developed as ours it may come off as a child with a mental disability.


I'm not sure why you would assert that...

However I don't buy the anti-argument in the article about who would care for such things. I would be a proponent of cloning animals from that era. arrangements could be made to study and protect these animals and alot of evolutionary knowledge could be gained from it. Zoo's from around the world have no problem keeping all kinds of animals on site. Would there really be that much of a difference between an elephant and mastodon other than size? Of course a zoo with a mastadon will be charging you accordingly I'm sure.



i agree, those animals would probably live better lives than most people... They would be valuable beyond price...

#5 Moontanman

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 04:42 PM

It would certainly be a fascinating experiment to clone a Neanderthal man.

He might be just what we need nowadays. The present-day Homo Sapiens species seems to be sadly declining into an effete rut. We could do with an invigorating Neanderthal "blast from the past". It would give our genes a fresh kick.

Female scientists, especially, may enthuse. If a full-grown Neanderthal man was recreated, I bet he'd have a really good time.



may i quote you on that? i know a couple female researchers I'd like to see weigh in on this...

#6 CraigD

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 09:23 PM

This topic is evidently being bandied about but the idea at this time is closer to pure speculation than reality according to this article.

http://us.cnn.com/20....html?hpt=hp_c3

I think, to get a good sense of this story, you need to drill one link deeper than the CNN article, to this Speigel interview with George Church.

In it, Church is to some extent promoting his lab’s work in cloning things from the electronic data-only representation of genomes, using a promising approach of using automatic machines to insert synthesized fragments of the genome of the organism you’re trying to clone into lots of specially prepared compatible stem cells, then automatically partially to fully sequencing the resulting cells’ genomes ‘til getting a near perfect match for the original. It’s pretty awesome, general-purpose technology, with applications far wider than un-extinguishing extinct species. Much of the Speigel article is not about cloning Neanderthals, but designing organisms that can make large amounts of cheap hydrocarbon fuel while removing atmospheric carbon, or ones that could be used to make very compact, energy efficient computers using living cells.

But if we can should we? Clone one?

I think so. I also think we should clone contemporary modern Homo Sapiens Sapiens, and other hominids.

A single individual could answer questions that will never be answered by conventional paleontology, principle about Neanderthal intelligence. We know Homo neanderthalensis were Homo sapiens-like, physically including brain size, though possible not structure, and technologically. But we don’t know if they were mentally like present day H sapiens. We don’t even really know if contemporary “anatomically modern” H sapiens were, or if other contemporary hominids were or were not. Though there’s strong circumstantial evidence that H sapiens males could not produce normal, fertile offspring with Neanderthal females (because the 2 species have practically 0% matching mitochondrial DNA), we don’t know if male Neanderthals could or did produce fertile offspring with female H sapiens.

A complete Neanderthal genome has already been sequenced – we think, as the project was plagued with contamination from modern human DNA, having to invent techniques to avoid it – so if cloning techniques like Church’s can be perfected, it should be possible to clone a Neanderthal, or any extinct or threatened plant or animal for which we’re able to accurately sequence the genome, and find a compatible stem cell line. I don’t think there’s been a genome project for a Neanderthal-contemporary H Sapiens, but doing so gets easier as sequencing techniques and machines get better, which they do ongoingly.

A small group?

Ethically, I don’t think such questions can be answered until we know how things about Neanderthal we can know only by having one. If they are very like us in intelligence and perception, I can’t see an ethically right case for segregating them from our society. If they are not, what to do would be a complicated question that I don’t think can be answered other than by actually study of and communication with individual cloned Neanderthals.

Could neanderthal DNA added back to our gene pool increase the over all fitness of the human race? Is there any defensible reason to do so? Would anyone even notice?

It seems to me that evolution has answered that question, in that whatever, if any, Neanderthal genes increase H sapiens’ fitness are by definition already present. How to define a Neanderthal vs. a H sapiens gene is tricky, as we had a close (about 200,000 year old, 200,000 years ago) common ancestor, so share genes via separate lines of descent.

Again, ‘til we actually see a living Neanderthal, it’s hard to say he or she and a H sapiens would want to exchange genes, either in the usual way, or artificially. Decisions about gene mixing are complicated and emotionally loaded even among members of our single species.

Female scientists, especially, may enthuse. If a full-grown Neanderthal man was recreated, I bet he'd have a really good time.

That’s pretty much a main plot thread of Hugo award winning 2003 Neanderthal Parallax science fiction trilogy, which is driven by the ultimately romantic relationship between human geneticicist Mary Vaughan and a more-or-less human intelligence and technologically advanced Neanderthal-from-an-alternate worldline computer scientists Ponter Boddit. There love, however, is more emotional than physical, having a lot to do with Mary having had a recent traumatic rape experience, the cuture from which Ponter comes being much more gentle and crime-free than the society he visits, and Ponter being stranded in said scary H sapiens society, so badly in need of loving support. A really good time is had by all.

Sawyer’s novels are interesting (as most Hugo winners are), though wildly speculative – high quality “what if” alternate history, put into a conventional story form by the scientifically reasonable plot device of a quantum computer that accidentally connects different MWI worldliness. As with most Hugo winners, I recommend it highly. :thumbs_up

#7 Moontanman

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 11:59 AM

I loved that trilogy, great read, Sawyer spins a good yarn and manages to inspect a few sacred cows along the way...