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Neanderthal DNA and Stem Cells

The Paper of Record reports today that scientists in Germany are busy sequencing the DNA of the Neanderthal. They hope to learn more about the species, it seems. The article does not mention the gnashing of teeth in the Times’ editorial boardroom where they are lamenting the theocracy of George Bush evinced by his veto yesterday. Over there, the weight of human suffering is too great to bear, and any moment’s hesitation to kill the unborn is cruel.

I was particularly struck by the last paragraph:

"If the Neanderthal genome were fully recovered, it might in principle be possible to bring the species back from extinction by inserting the Neanderthal genome into a human egg and having volunteers bear Neanderthal infants. There would, however, be great technical and ethical barriers to any such venture."

Anyone who has seen my sons eating might suspect that something like this has already occurred. However, this question is hard to ignore: If stem cells harvested from killed babies is so vital that we cannot even limit it or discuss other options, why are the scientists dreaming of cloning Neanderthals? Aren’t we hearing that there is a crisis and there is no time to slow down and ponder the implications?

Also, I wonder…Will it turn out that homo sapien are to blame for the extinction of the Neanderthals? Will there be reparations? That could make the Middle East look like a love-in. We’d have to give back most of Europe. If we clone one, would he be allowed to enter the US without documentation? Will the Supreme Court grant him habeas corpus rights? If we clone a female, will she have the right to kill her unborn offspring, thus ensuring a second extinction? Would liberals get the irony?

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 20, 2006 2:30 PM.

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