Professor George Church, a pioneer in synthetic biology at Harvard University discusses whether a Neanderthal, which existed more than 33,000 years ago, could be cloned with German magazine, Der Spiegel.
Professor Church’s gave the interview to talk about his new book:Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves, was recently released.
Professor Church is aware of the law and ethical issues that would preclude the occurrence, but stressed that he feels that it is possible. He also believes that it is possible to build all kinds of machines, such as cars, computers, coffee machines, and other devices.
While it is simple to attempt jocularity when topics like this are broached, it is not easy to become an expert in synthetic biology, be part of establishing biotech firms, or to teach at Harvard. When asked, “Will you witness the birth of a Neanderthal baby in your lifetime, here is what he said.
That depends on a hell of a lot of things, but I think so. The reason I would consider it a possibility is that a bunch of technologies are developing faster than ever before. In particular, reading and writing DNA is now about a million times faster than seven or eight years ago. Another technology that the de-extinction of a Neanderthal would require is human cloning. We can clone all kinds of mammals, so it's very likely that we could clone a human. Why shouldn't we be able to do so?