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Should We Clone Neanderthals ?

  1. Apr 30, 2010 #1

    mgb_phys

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  3. May 1, 2010 #2

    Pythagorean

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    We should be able to clone both homo sapiens and neanderthals.
     
  4. May 2, 2010 #3
    I don't think it's ethical but should we do it? Heck yes! I'm curious. :tongue:

    I'm wondering how do they know that they have 100% Neanderthal DNA and that it's even 100% in the correct sequence. Just because it was 'painstakingly' sequenced doesn't mean it's the correct sequence.
     
  5. May 4, 2010 #4

    Borg

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    It would be worth it just to watch the ACLU, Congress, The Supreme Court and churches fight for turf. :yuck:
     
  6. May 4, 2010 #5

    Borek

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    I don't get it. When I watch TV I have a feeling they are all around, so what is the fuss about?
     
  7. May 4, 2010 #6
    With no actual Neanderthal reference genome sequence, there are bound to be a number of errors in this sequence. So the ethical question IMO is, would it be ok to clone something (that we should consider a human being for the most part), that we know probably has errors in the sequence and it would be unkown how those errors might manifest themselves?


    On another note, this part made no sense to me:
    ...because the Illumina sequencers get tens of millions of sequence reads per sample and over 100 million per run. More likely they chose 454 for the longer read-lengths.
    It must have just been a confused reporter that really didn't understand. :smile:
     
  8. May 4, 2010 #7

    DavidSnider

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    I wonder how well something separated by 30,000 years of evolution would fare in the modern world. Would modern viruses just eat it alive? Or would they be completely ineffective because they didn't co-evolve? Is 30,000 just not long enough for it to matter?
     
  9. May 4, 2010 #8

    mgb_phys

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    You need a lot less separation than that - ask native Americans vs smallpox.
     
  10. May 5, 2010 #9

    Ivan Seeking

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    Mary Shelley may have gotten it about right.
     
  11. May 5, 2010 #10

    Borg

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    Making Neanderthals - so easy a caveman can do it! :tongue:
     
  12. May 5, 2010 #11
    Yes, very interesting!

    Both the technical details and the ethical implications are beyond what I would be comforable commenting on.

    I will say that this could be the basis for a great science fiction book - maybe even a trilogy that spans centuries. I can imagine the scenario where homo sapiens recreate the race of Neanderthals, but underestimate their intelligence and their agressiveness. The Neanderthals learn the evolutionary history which has homo-sapiens surviving their ancestors. They then resolve to "set things right". The struggles lasts for centuries, with the ironic conclusion of the final book establishing Neanderthals as the master race and homo-sapiens as an extinct species.

    Speculating on a biological/evolutionary note. It seems to me that the human invention of cloning (if perfected, that is) has implications in the subject of Natural Selection. Long dead species which now somehow become curiosities to living humans, have an evolutionary second chance, so to speak. A species that offers human benefits of some type (medical, chemical, learning potential) or those that just seem interesting (cute or exotic) may have found a shortcut around the environmental changes that "did them in". Species no longer need to survive through the eons, provided some of their DNA remains intact and some intelligent species evolves and learns how (and finds them interesting enough) to clone them.
     
  13. May 7, 2010 #12

    Borg

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    Last night, I saw that the Truman Show was on TBS. For some reason, it reminded me of this thread. If we cloned Neanderthals, would we put them into a synthetic environment and let the world watch?
     
  14. May 10, 2010 #13
    If you want to see people who are 30,000 years away from you, look no further than aboriginal Australians or Polynesians. (Except for residents of Easter Island: those are probably descended from South Americans and therefore they are a bit closer.)

    True Neanderthals are likely separated from us by a period of time that's at least an order of magnitude larger.

    Of course, no one really knows for sure if the genome that was sequenced by MPI/454 is that of a true Neanderthal. Since it's 30,000 years old and it is from an area that was already populated by Cro-Magnons at the time, it's entirely possible that there are some traces of Cro-Magnon DNA in there too.
     
  15. May 12, 2010 #14
    Thanks mgb-phys.:smile: I love archaeology, and I've located an excellent video that explains indepth some of the information that the neanderthal article touched upon.

    The Neanderthal Genome Project - Svante Pääbo of the Max Planck Institute joins Cold SpringHarbor Laboratory's Dave Micklos to discuss the Neanderthal genome project.
    http://www.dnalc.org/resources/dnatoday/090521_neanderthal.html
     
  16. May 12, 2010 #15
    Science/AAAS also has published a Special Feature: The Neandertal Genome

     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  17. May 12, 2010 #16
    What would we really learn anyways? We have their bones, we know what they looked like...

    Sure, we could try to learn how intelligent they were, but is that worth the huge ethical issues we'd create? I think probably not.
     
  18. May 12, 2010 #17
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