Scientists are getting close to completing a draft sequence of the Neanderthal genome, which could make it possibility to clone creating a living person from the ancient DNA sequence
According to Archaeology Magazine 454 Life Sciences began a project with the Max Planck Institute to sequence the genetic code of a 30,000 year old Neanderthal woman.
Apparently it is nearly complete and it will give the chance to understand the Neanderthal’s biology and maybe even create a living person.
Top boffin Thomas Jarvie told the magazine that it was all possible thanks to the increase in computer power over the last few years. Only six years ago sequencing bacteria like E. coli would have taken two million dollars, a year and 150 people. Nowadays, one person can do it in two days.
But the science may be a few years away from bringing back the Neanderthal. DNA tens of thousands of years old has been challenged by chemical changes, breakdown of the biological matter and contaminants. And once the DNA sequencing is complete, creating a clone from it is still an inexact science.
The human genome can be altered to match the recreated Neanderthal one and advances in stem cell science have led to proposals to alter a stem cell’s DNA to match the Neanderthal genome.
That stem cell would be left to reproduce, creating a colony of cells that could be programmed to become any type of cell that existed in the Neanderthal’s body — even an entire person.
One of the downsides to the experiment is that the moment that a Neanderthal is created then it would have human rights and be unable to be ‘studied’ in the way a boffin would like.
It would be forced to get a decent education and join a consumer orientated society. Still it would be the ideal target market for an iPad.