… I saw this NYT article. Apparently, for the low low price of $10 mil, scientists think they could gradually introduce woolly mammoth DNA into an elephant fetus, and eventually give rise to a critter a whole lot like a woolly mammoth. (I don’t know whether the critter would ACTUALLY BE a woolly mammoth, vs. a weird woolly elephant, vs. something-we-have-yet-to-name. Actually, I think the example pretty much obliterates rigid species-bound thinking. But I digress.)
That’s nuthin’, however, compared to what these scientists also think they could do: give rise to a critter a whole lot like Neanderthal. The article says that ethical considerations would keep that experiment from taking place. Here I am torn. Yes, I feel that it is wrong to ‘monkey’ with human DNA (har, har), unless there are compelling medical reasons to do so. I think the threat of a slippery slope is very real. On the other hand, would it not be exceedingly interesting — nay, totally friggin’ awesome — to have a Neanderthal around? to see what cognitive skills they possessed? to be able possibly to talk to (some version of) a non-human?
Actually, the article raises another possibility. Perhaps the Neanderthal DNA could be spliced into a chimp’s DNA, and the fetus could be brought to term in a chimp mother. Does that satisfy the ethical qualms, or introduce new ones?
Let’s vote. How do you feel about the possibility of manufacturing a quasi-Neanderthal?