Wednesday, November 15, 2006

No bones about it

Wondering about Neanderthals and DNA as in this story:,,2-2455248,00.html

"DNA extracted from a Neanderthal bone has been analysed in detail for the first time and the genetic code of humanity’s closest cousin will be mapped completely within two years, scientists announced yesterday."

Now the article says that Neanderthals are humanity's "closest cousin." What DNA-wise does that mean. Is a Neanderthal embryo as "valued" as a human embryo in the US? The reason I bring this up is that if we can clone all kinds of non-human animals, is there a moral reason to forbid using Neanderthal DNA to make. well, a Neanderthal.

There is some evidence that Neanderthals and humans might have been able to interbreed - making the different species argument problematic. On the other hand - like wooly mammoths - there aren't any Neanderthals around anymore.

If we could create a mammoth, would we? I think someone somewhere would do it. And other than the initial shock has worn off - it would after all be a little like having a UFO land in the town square - I think no one would have a durable moral argument against it.

So back to the Neanderthal. Would we if could? Should we? Why? Why not?

1 comment:

Mark said...

Hmm, seems like we could get most of the knowledge we'd get from cloning homo sapiens without as much political/religious pushback. After all Neanderthals didn't have souls, right? Hell, they didn't even really exist. All those bones were created 4000 years ago along with everything else. So who could object?