Re-creating Neanderthals among us
This news item is retro rather than forward looking, being concerned with life re-creation rather than life extension. Life-extension may pose ethical problems, but how about bringing an extinct near-human species back to life? German scientists have finished identifying the genome of Neanderthal Man, now extinct for 30,000 years. Further, there is discussion of creating a new live Neanderthal male (or female or both) using available technology. A modern human genome would be modified so that its DNA matches the Neanderthal version. This DNA would be inserted into a chimpanzee cell which would then be reprogrammed to an embryonic state, and then introduced into a chimpanzee’s womb. The chimp would give birth to a Neanderthal humanoid.
Neanderthals have long been regarded as a species somewhere between the great apes and humans on the evolutionary scale. They diverged from the human line of evolution around 500,000 years ago. Neanderthal mitochondrial DNA has around 200 differences from human mitochondrial genomes whereas chimpanzee mitochondrial DNA has about 1500 differences. Neanderthal brain size appears to be equal or greater than that of humans. Neanderthals were tool users but there is dispute about how well they were able to communicate by speech.
I normally do not like to get embroiled in ethical disputes but I wonder: Would newly-minted Neanderthals be accorded human rights or treated as lab animals? Would the first new Neanderthals be provided an education, featured on TV talk shows, trained to do strenuous sports, encouraged to reproduce?
For one thing, it appears now that loss of species is no longer necessarily a one-way street.
About Vince Giuliano
Being a follower, connoisseur, and interpreter of longevity research is my latest career, since 2007. I believe I am unique among the researchers and writers in the aging sciences community in one critical respect. That is, I personally practice the anti-aging interventions that I preach and that has kept me healthy, young, active and highly involved at my age, now 93. I am as productive as I was at age 45. I don’t know of anybody else active in that community in my age bracket. In particular, I have focused on the importance of controlling chronic inflammation for healthy aging, and have written a number of articles on that subject in this blog. In 2014, I created a dietary supplement to further this objective. In 2019, two family colleagues and I started up Synergy Bioherbals, a dietary supplement company that is now selling this product.
In earlier reincarnations of my career. I was Founding Dean of a graduate school and a full University Professor at the State University of New York, a senior consultant working in a variety of fields at Arthur D. Little, Inc., Chief Scientist and C00 of Mirror Systems, a software company, and an international Internet consultant. I got off the ground with one of the earliest PhD's from Harvard in a field later to become known as computer science. Because there was no academic field of computer science at the time, to get through I had to qualify myself in hard sciences, so my studies focused heavily on quantum physics. In various ways I contributed to the Computer Revolution starting in the 1950s and the Internet Revolution starting in the late 1980s. I am now engaged in doing the same for The Longevity Revolution. I have published something like 200 books and papers as well as over 430 substantive.entries in this blog, and have enjoyed various periods of notoriety. If you do a Google search on Vincent E. Giuliano, most if not all of the entries on the first few pages that come up will be ones relating to me. I have a general writings site at www.vincegiuliano.com and an extensive site of my art at www.giulianoart.com.
Please note that I have recently changed my mailbox to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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An interesting article on working with Neanderthal DNA can be found at http://arstechnica.com/science/news/2009/02/a-neanderthal-in-the-family-ars-at-aaas.ars