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Old 20th January 2013, 02:00 PM   #1
Cainkane1
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Any ladies want to give birth toa Neanderthal baby?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...cave-baby.html

This scientist says it can be done. If the science works I feel a population of these hominids would be in order.

Some scientists feel we owe it to the neanderthals to bring them back since our ancestors were responsible for their extinction.
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Old 20th January 2013, 02:08 PM   #2
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I suspect if this had been couched in terms of birthing a New Age 'Messiah' then some sections of the population would fall over themselves to do this.
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Old 20th January 2013, 02:15 PM   #3
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It would probably necessitate a caesarean section.

From the article:
Quote:
George Church, a genetics professor at Harvard Medical School, believes he can bring back the extinct ancestor of modern man after more than 33,000 years.
Quote:
'I have already managed to attract enough DNA from fossil bones to reconstruct the DNA of the human species largely extinct.
Interesting.
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Old 20th January 2013, 02:17 PM   #4
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Quote:
Neanderthals might think differently than we do. We know that they had a larger cranial size. They could even be more intelligent than us.

When the time comes to deal with an epidemic or getting off the planet or whatever, it's conceivable that their way of thinking could be beneficial.

They could maybe even create a new neo-Neanderthal culture and become a political force. The main goal is to increase diversity. The one thing that is bad for society is low diversity.

This is true for culture or evolution, for species and also for whole societies. If you become a monoculture, you are at great risk of perishing.

Therefore the recreation of Neanderthals would be mainly a question of societal risk avoidance.
Apart from this coming from the Flaily Fail, I'd say that this guy is putting the neanderthalensis before the sapiens.
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Old 20th January 2013, 02:31 PM   #5
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Sounds like "N Words" by Ted Kosmatka
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Old 20th January 2013, 02:52 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Cainkane1 View Post

Some scientists feel we owe it to the neanderthals to bring them back since our ancestors were responsible for their extinction.
Does it not bother you how much conjecture is just dripping from a statement like that?
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Old 20th January 2013, 04:55 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Cainkane1 View Post
Some scientists feel we owe it to the neanderthals to bring them back since our ancestors were responsible for their extinction.
...and anyway, this is not necessarily proven. There are a number of other hypotheses as to why Neanderthals became extinct, including

1. The ritual consumption of mammalian brain matter which led to endemic spongiform encephalopathy.

2. Inability to cope with climate change (and we could go the same way if we aren't careful)

3. Assimilation by interbreeding with our Cro-magnon ancestors. (Resistance is Futile!)

4. Differences in anatomy and gait. Neanderthals were shorter, stockier, heavier and slower than their competition.


Our ancestors can hardly be blamed for any of these!
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Old 20th January 2013, 05:10 PM   #8
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What about practicalities.
Quote:
I have already managed to attract enough DNA from fossil bones to reconstruct the DNA of the human species largely extinct.
What is the likelihood of genetic defects in this patchwork of DNA?
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Old 20th January 2013, 06:09 PM   #9
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I think it's more likely that a good survey will soon find that there are Neandertals alive now amongst already. My brother in law comes to mind.

Though I think it wouldn't be hard to find volunteer mothers for a cave man son. Arrr arr arr. ARrrr?
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Old 20th January 2013, 06:19 PM   #10
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Somehow I doubt our current ability to analyze DNA would allow us to predict the antigen response to a Neandertal pregnancy.
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Old 20th January 2013, 06:59 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Toke View Post
What about practicalities.


What is the likelihood of genetic defects in this patchwork of DNA?
The article also says that Neanderthal DNA has been sequenced, so you'd know exactly how it looks, nucleotid for nucleotid (and yes, it is, sort of).

But I wonder then why the article also says that
Quote:
The next step would be to chop this genome up into, say, 10,000 chunks and then synthesize these. Finally, you would introduce these chunks into a human stem cell.
Or do they simply mean that they start out with the stem cell's human DNA and then splice in the differences to turn it effectively into Neanderthal DNA?

ETA: there is a much less sensational interview with George Church in the German magazine Der Spiegel.
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Old 20th January 2013, 07:17 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by ddt View Post
The article also says that Neanderthal DNA has been sequenced, so you'd know exactly how it looks, nucleotid for nucleotid (and yes, it is, sort of).
How does that prevent there being errors? If their sequence is of damaged copies how could they know?
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Old 20th January 2013, 10:49 PM   #13
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I'd do it, and it wouldn't bother me at all to give the kid up to science, as long as he/she was treated humanely.
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Old 21st January 2013, 01:24 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
I'd do it, and it wouldn't bother me at all to give the kid up to science, as long as he/she was treated humanely.
Am I correct in my understanding that firstly a living human embryo would first be needed prior to genetic modification and subsequent introduction into a surrogate womb ?

So one would require more than just an "Adventurous woman" to create a Neanderthal baby ?
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Old 21st January 2013, 01:57 AM   #15
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I thought we each had some Neanderthal DNA already so we could probably selectively breed one over a few generations. I am sure we all know some prime candidates for the first breeding cycles.
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Old 21st January 2013, 02:17 AM   #16
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Neanderthals aren't extinct if some of the knuckle-draggers I 'debate' with on CT sites are any indication.
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Old 21st January 2013, 05:37 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
How does that prevent there being errors? If their sequence is of damaged copies how could they know?
That's why I added the "sort of". Using only 5 specimens doesn't strike me as particularly impressive. I can actually see two problems with that:
1) errors due to damage to the DNA found
2) you only account for a small amount of the possible variation in the DNA because only a small amount of possible alleles would be present in those samples.
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Old 21st January 2013, 12:17 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Libra View Post
Am I correct in my understanding that firstly a living human embryo would first be needed prior to genetic modification and subsequent introduction into a surrogate womb ?

So one would require more than just an "Adventurous woman" to create a Neanderthal baby ?
Not sure what you are getting at but if it involved harvesting a human ovum and trading out the DNA, I'd be OK with that. But if it required unusual messing with my hormones or if it turned out the fetus was putting out anything other-species related, I'd reserve the right to abort the experiment.
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Old 21st January 2013, 04:30 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
2. Inability to cope with climate change (and we could go the same way if we aren't careful)
This would be a neat trick, considering the fact that there are currently H. sapiens living in literally every corner of Earth. The climate would have to change to something more extreme than ice floes or deep desert in order to discommode both Inuits and Bedouins.
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Old 21st January 2013, 04:55 PM   #20
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Wow I thought I already had three of 'em.
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Old 21st January 2013, 05:09 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by ddt View Post
That's why I added the "sort of". Using only 5 specimens doesn't strike me as particularly impressive. I can actually see two problems with that:
1) errors due to damage to the DNA found
2) you only account for a small amount of the possible variation in the DNA because only a small amount of possible alleles would be present in those samples.
If I recall, there actually was a lot of damage to the DNA found, but the damage creates a specific type of mutation that allows them to infer the original sequence...still not likely to be perfect.

If you're just cloning one individual you only need one diploid genome sequence.

Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
Not sure what you are getting at but if it involved harvesting a human ovum and trading out the DNA, I'd be OK with that. But if it required unusual messing with my hormones or if it turned out the fetus was putting out anything other-species related, I'd reserve the right to abort the experiment.
You'd probably have to do the standard fertility regimen for IVF, which I think involves hormone treatment. As far as the actual cloning goes, in this case they swap out the DNA in chunks from a human stem cell line until the sequence matches the neanderthal genome....certainly a tour de force in cell line creation. Then once you have the cell line you can use it directly to create an embryo or you can swap the DNA into an ovum.
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Old 21st January 2013, 06:26 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by ThunderChunky View Post
...

You'd probably have to do the standard fertility regimen for IVF, which I think involves hormone treatment. As far as the actual cloning goes, in this case they swap out the DNA in chunks from a human stem cell line until the sequence matches the neanderthal genome....certainly a tour de force in cell line creation. Then once you have the cell line you can use it directly to create an embryo or you can swap the DNA into an ovum.
The IVF hormones would be OK but at my age, I believe they would want to harvest younger eggs. I was only referring to the uterus loan.
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Old 22nd January 2013, 01:13 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
The IVF hormones would be OK but at my age, I believe they would want to harvest younger eggs. I was only referring to the uterus loan.
That's what I was "getting at". It's more than just a uterus loan.

It's wilfully manipulating a living human embryo by the introduction of synthetic Neanderthal DNA in order to guide the hoped-for mutation.

Why are more people not uncomfortable with this ?
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Old 22nd January 2013, 01:31 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by ThunderChunky View Post
If I recall, there actually was a lot of damage to the DNA found, but the damage creates a specific type of mutation that allows them to infer the original sequence...still not likely to be perfect.

If you're just cloning one individual you only need one diploid genome sequence.
Yes, I understand that. But George Church envisaged breeding back a whole tribe of Neanderthals, and then you'd like to have some genetic variation.
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Old 22nd January 2013, 04:56 AM   #25
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It's an interesting topic, but I'm mostly just annoyed that you stole the expression "Any ladies want to give birth to a Neanderthal baby?"

It's my go to pick up line.
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Old 22nd January 2013, 12:30 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Libra View Post
That's what I was "getting at". It's more than just a uterus loan.

It's wilfully manipulating a living human embryo by the introduction of synthetic Neanderthal DNA in order to guide the hoped-for mutation.

Why are more people not uncomfortable with this ?
I'm not too bothered. I can see why other people might be.
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Old 22nd January 2013, 12:37 PM   #27
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they should ask Buch's mom, she has experiance with that.
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Old 22nd January 2013, 02:40 PM   #28
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Couple of thoughts:

We have techniques for synthesizing protiens from fossil DNA strands. It might be worth it to look at that before we try full-scale cloning.

Second, if we do want to clone these guys, it may be wroth doing it with multiple people--some in the lineages that include Neanderthal DNA and some in ones that don't.

Quote:
They could maybe even create a new neo-Neanderthal culture
Not very likely. Not for a long time, anyway--certainly not in our lifetimes. They'd most likely assimilate into our society (if they were allowed to live free anyway). Humans require a LOT of training, so there'd be very little psychology to learn from them.

Originally Posted by Cainkane1
Some scientists feel we owe it to the neanderthals to bring them back since our ancestors were responsible for their extinction.
I don't know of any. Humans and Neanderthals competed. Humans won. It may have sucked for the Neanderthals (though I have my doubts--most likely neither group knew what was going on, particularly if they were interbreeding), but that's biology. Humans aren't that different from any other organism, and we're certainly not the first ones to out-compete a closely-related species.

Originally Posted by Libra
Why are more people not uncomfortable with this ?
First, at the stage where such manipulation would occur the human hasn't developed--if you wait too long, it'll be too late. Second, because biologists do this sort of thing all the time in other species. Horner is doing it with emus, for example. The idea of doing to us is merely another application of established techniques. Third, given that populations in industrialized societies are stabilised or declining there are a lot of eggs in human females that aren't being used.

Let me ask you this: What is it about manipulating human cells that makes you uncomfortable? Remember, if you're not uncomfortable with Horner's work (or the myriad of other biological studies in the works right now), than it must be the fact that it's human cells that bothers you, as that's the only difference.
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Old 23rd January 2013, 03:55 PM   #29
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As usual the Daily Fail cannot be trusted to tell the truth

Scientist: I'm NOT Seeking a Mom for a Neanderthal

Quote:
NEW YORK (AP) — A prominent genetics expert from Harvard Medical School wants to make one thing perfectly clear: He is NOT looking for a woman to bear a Neanderthal baby. Not even an adventurous one.

"Definitely not," said George Church.

Is he advocating for creating a Neanderthal? No. Does he plan to pursue such a project? "We have no projects, no plans, we have no papers, no grants," to do that, he said in a telephone interview Tuesday.

You wouldn't know that from some press reports that shot around the Internet the past few days, which made Church sound like he was supporting the idea and even looking for an "adventurous" woman to bear the Neanderthal child.
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Old 23rd January 2013, 11:41 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
Couple of thoughts: . . .

First, at the stage where such manipulation would occur the human hasn't developed--if you wait too long, it'll be too late. .
That does depend on when exactly you deem a human to come into existance, doesn't it ?


Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post

Second, because biologists do this sort of thing all the time in other species. Horner is doing it with emus, for example. The idea of doing to us is merely another application of established techniques. Third, given that populations in industrialized societies are stabilised or declining there are a lot of eggs in human females that aren't being used.
On the emu point, isn't it like saying that seeing that most humans eat animal meat, we might as well propose cannibilising the dead to the hunger-stricken people here in Africa ? It's done with all sorts of other animals, you know, so it must be OK.

On the oversupply of human eggs, it could be argued that there's an oversupply of humans on this earth too. Would that go a long way in justifying a culling excercise ?


Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
Let me ask you this: What is it about manipulating human cells that makes you uncomfortable? Remember, if you're not uncomfortable with Horner's work (or the myriad of other biological studies in the works right now), than it must be the fact that it's human cells that bothers you, as that's the only difference.
Manipulation of human cells is one thing, but bridging the specie gap surely is another ?

Without even going into the ethical side of the actual manipulation of a human embryo into a Neanderthal, surely there could be a number of other concerns regarding the cultural impact on H. sapians, the details involved in raising an intelligent hominid and the question of constitutional rights that might or might not be afforded to such new specie. I am sure there are a number of other concerns and issues, and going ahead with something like this without covering all the areas properly would be irresponsible.
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Old 24th January 2013, 01:04 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by Libra View Post
Manipulation of human cells is one thing, but bridging the specie gap surely is another ?

Without even going into the ethical side of the actual manipulation of a human embryo into a Neanderthal, surely there could be a number of other concerns regarding the cultural impact on H. sapians, the details involved in raising an intelligent hominid and the question of constitutional rights that might or might not be afforded to such new specie. I am sure there are a number of other concerns and issues, and going ahead with something like this without covering all the areas properly would be irresponsible.
It's not manipulating an embryo, it's manipulating a human cell line. You then use this cell line to create an embryo. Neanderthals would be given the same rights as humans because they are humans.
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Old 24th January 2013, 09:06 AM   #32
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Old 24th January 2013, 12:31 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by Libra
That does depend on when exactly you deem a human to come into existance, doesn't it ?
True. If you consider a fertilized egg to be a human, there's nothing I can say that will convince you otherwise. If you consider an UNfertilized egg to be a human, you're wrong by pretty much any definition of "human", even the most strict. The only possible objection to fertilizing a human egg with Neanderthal DNA is that it amounts to a weird form of beastiality.

Quote:
On the emu point, isn't it like saying that seeing that most humans eat animal meat, we might as well propose cannibilising the dead to the hunger-stricken people here in Africa ? It's done with all sorts of other animals, you know, so it must be OK.
Sure. I've heard people make exactly that argument. The issue with cannibilism isn't that it's morally wrong; that depends on the culture (I'd say killing anyone against their will, who isn't an enemy combatant, is universally wrong, but if they commit suicide and want to be eaten, what's wrong with it?). Cannibilism isn't a good source of protien, isn't sustainable in any sense, and can cause a wide variety of diseases--more so than eating other animals. If you can come up with similar arguments for why manipulating human embryos is a bad idea, while manipulating emu embryos isn't, those arguments would certainly be worth hearing. I can't think of any. The moral arguments are going to fall pretty flat, though.

Quote:
On the oversupply of human eggs, it could be argued that there's an oversupply of humans on this earth too. Would that go a long way in justifying a culling excercise ?
Some have argued yes. Though the arguments supporting the notion that there is an overabundance of humans on the planet are fairly unconvincing (for example, famines today are distribution problems, not issues with growing enough food). Besides, I recognize a difference between a blasocist and a human--so your arguments on that front aren't going to gain any traction. There's a HUGE difference between unfertilized eggs and actual humans (for the purpose of this discussion, any post-birth human counts as an actual human).

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Manipulation of human cells is one thing, but bridging the specie gap surely is another ?
Why? YOU are proposing that this is a serious issue. It falls on you to support this conclusion.

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surely there could be a number of other concerns regarding the cultural impact on H. sapians, the details involved in raising an intelligent hominid and the question of constitutional rights that might or might not be afforded to such new specie.
"specie"? I think it's a typo, but am not sure. I've never seen the word before.

You are correct that there are a large number of questions to be addressed if we ever clone Neandarthals. They are not, however, insurmountable. The cultural impact would almost certainly be extremely minor--in a society where Justin Beiber is a celebrity while no one's heard of James Valentine, I think it's safe to assume that the culture won't care much about the scientific advancements being made. Or, to put it another way: everyone knew what Dolly the sheep was born. Only scientists marked when she died. A Neanderthal would be the same. The legal issue is a thornier one, but again, not insurmountable. Science fiction has addressed this issue repeatedly, for example (in varying degrees of seriousness, I'll grant you--but it certainly shows that at least some people have given this idea a lot of thought).

They're also irrelevant in a lot of ways. A great deal of work can be done via partial cloning--inserting specific genes into a human cell and seeing what the expression of those genes is/are. The Japanese did that with mammoths recently and found what amounts to a biological antifreeze in mammmoths that's absent from modern elephants. Similar work could be done with Neanderthals easily. Or, simply observing the development of the fetus could provide a lot of information. There's a lot we can do without allowing the fetus to come to full term.
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Old 25th January 2013, 04:40 AM   #34
Libra
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Originally Posted by ThunderChunky View Post
It's not manipulating an embryo, it's manipulating a human cell line. You then use this cell line to create an embryo. Neanderthals would be given the same rights as humans because they are humans.

The article read : "Professor Church’s plan would begin by artificially creating Neanderthal DNA based on genetic code found in fossil remains. He would put this DNA into stem cells.

These would be injected into cells from a human embryo in the early stages of life.

It is thought that the stem cells would steer the development of the hybrid embryo on Neanderthal lines, rather than human ones."

Agreed on the rights issue.
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Old 25th January 2013, 05:10 AM   #35
Libra
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Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
True. If you consider a fertilized egg to be a human, there's nothing I can say that will convince you otherwise.

. . .

There's a HUGE difference between unfertilized eggs and actual humans (for the purpose of this discussion, any post-birth human counts as an actual human).
One could very well consider a fertilized human egg to be human. With neurogenesis as early as week 5/6, I dont know how the remainder of the 33/32 weeks in-utero can be considered void of being human.

I do not consider an unfertilised one to be human though. The article lead me to believe that the manipulation would be done on "human embryo in the early stages of life". This could have been a mis-understanding on my part or incorrectly reported.


Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post

"specie"? I think it's a typo, but am not sure. I've never seen the word before.
Apologies, English is not my mother tongue. Species.

Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post

You are correct that there are a large number of questions to be addressed if we ever clone Neandarthals. They are not, however, insurmountable. The cultural impact would almost certainly be extremely minor.

. . .

The legal issue is a thornier one, but again, not insurmountable.
Nothing is unsurmountable if a certain amount of collateral damage is accepted.

If they are granted the same rights as others, say in Germany and elsewhere in Europe, would these countries consider land-restitution, or just put them in reserves ?

Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post

Similar work could be done with Neanderthals easily. Or, simply observing the development of the fetus could provide a lot of information. There's a lot we can do without allowing the fetus to come to full term.
I agree, provided that it is done with techniques that ensures no manipulation of a human. When exactly a human really becomes a human will not be resolved any time soon.
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Old 25th January 2013, 05:22 AM   #36
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This is wrought with cruelty to the Neanderthal that would be created. Assuming you deal with all other problems, you would have to create a population, unless torture of a single, social creature is the goal.

Think there are ethical problems in keeping great apes in captivity?
You ain't seen nothin' yet.
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Old 25th January 2013, 12:11 PM   #37
Dinwar
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Originally Posted by Libra
One could very well consider a fertilized human egg to be human. With neurogenesis as early as week 5/6,
Sorry, but that's later than I was talking about. I was talking about a fertilized egg cell; at all other times I've been careful to discuss the fetus or blasotcist.

What I'm essentially asking is, do you consider human life to start at the point where the sperm and egg unite?

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Apologies, English is not my mother tongue. Species.
No worries. I just wanted to make sure we were on the same page.

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Nothing is unsurmountable if a certain amount of collateral damage is accepted.
I've provided places to look for how to deal with it without collateral damage.

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If they are granted the same rights as others, say in Germany and elsewhere in Europe, would these countries consider land-restitution, or just put them in reserves ?
Both land restitution and reserves would be a violation of the principle of granting them the same rights as others.

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I agree, provided that it is done with techniques that ensures no manipulation of a human. When exactly a human really becomes a human will not be resolved any time soon.
What this says is that for all practical purposes you do not want such analyses to take place.
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Old 25th January 2013, 06:31 PM   #38
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Do they think they have a whole Neander genome?

Us and Neanderthals must share 98% or so already. Comparing theirs to ours ought to show just what minor change it takes.

Hmm, maybe it is easier to use modern humans to breed back, rather than clone a fossil? That way we would know the individual genes are viable? Or ummm, word escapse me now, 'gene splice' good samples from me and you, and put together a copy of Og?
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Old 25th January 2013, 06:50 PM   #39
Dinwar
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Originally Posted by casebro
Hmm, maybe it is easier to use modern humans to breed back, rather than clone a fossil?
I don't think that's possible. I have my doubts about how far Horner's research can go, to be honest. The problem is, unless you have a template to compare it to you can't know when you've got there. Plus, Neanderthals weren't our direct ancestor (at least, my understanding is that the current understanding is that they aren't). It'd be like changing your own genome to your sister's genome. Even if you can re-create your parent's genome, you'd still have trouble making your sibling's.

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Or ummm, word escapse me now, 'gene splice' good samples from me and you, and put together a copy of Og?
That's more or less what the Japanese did with the mammoth DNA--only it's simpler, because you only need enough to transcribe and translate the DNA, not to make a fully-functional cell. You can do it with a lot smaller of a hunk of DNA.
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Old 25th January 2013, 09:53 PM   #40
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I can't understand the reasons for why this would be a good thing to do. We can only guess at some of their thought processes based on artifacts from their camps and what the inside of their skulls suggest about their cognitive and social abilities. That seems like a cruel thing to do to a person not adapted for HSS society.
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