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Professor George Church of Harvard Medical School believes he can reconstruct Neanderthal DNA and resurrect the species which became extinct 33,000 years ago.
His scheme is reminiscent of Jurassic Park but, while in the film dinosaurs were created in a laboratory, Professor Church’s ambitious plan requires a human volunteer.
He said his analysis of Neanderthal genetic code using samples from bones is complete enough to reconstruct their DNA.
He said: ‘Now I need an adventurous female human.
‘It depends on a hell of a lot of things, but I think it can be done.’
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.
After growing in the lab for a few days, the ‘neo-Neanderthal’ embryo would be implanted in the womb of a surrogate mother – the volunteer. Professor Church, 58, is a pioneer in synthetic biology who helped initiate the Human Genome Project that mapped our DNA.
Scientist: I'm NOT seeking a mom for a Neanderthal
Neanderthal baby misunderstandings: Harvard Medical School genetics professor George Church said some media reports made him look like he was searching for a woman to bear a Neanderthal baby, and that’s simply not true.
Contrary to some media reports, professor George Church says there are no such plans to create a Neanderthal baby.
NEW YORK — 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.
Church says those reports are based on misunderstandings of an interview he gave the German magazine Der Spiegel. The publication had approached him to talk about his recent book, "Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves."