Scientific American has just posted a very cool interactive feature online today that’s entitled “Twelve Events that Will Change Everything.” One of these game-changing events, suggests the magazine, will be human cloning.
The section on human cloning is relatively short, but it includes several points of interest. As regular readers here know, I take a strong interest in scientific research on Neandertals, particularly on developments that could lead to the cloning of this extinct hominin.
The Scientific American feature includes a short section on the feasibility of this. There Frank M. Church, a geneticist and molecular technologist at Harvard Medical School, reportedly asserts that an extremely well-preserved Neandertal bone could well yield enough DNA to generate a cloneable genome. Moreover, the feature notes something that I had missed in last year’s news– namely that a team of Spanish and Belgian researchers managed to clone an extinct ibex subspecies known as a bucardo and published a paper on this in the Journal of Theriology in April 2009. This clone perished just minutes after its birth, however, due to lung defects.
The more I read, the more I think it’s just a matter of time before we have all the tools we need to clone a Neandertal. And I definitely think that the scientific community should be debating this issue now.
Photo by Digitonin.