Sorry, Would-Be Neanderthal Moms: Story a Big Mix-Up
George Church says the whole thing was a misunderstanding
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Jan 23, 2013 8:10 AM CST
In this Oct. 20, 2008 file photo, Harvard Medical School genetics professor George Church poses for a photo.   (AP Photo/Lisa Poole, File)

(Newser) – If you were thinking of applying to be the "extremely adventurous" surrogate mom of a Neanderthal baby, we have bad news for you: The Harvard geneticist who was supposedly looking for such a woman now says the reports (which Newser got in on) aren't true. "Definitely not," George Church tells the AP. "We have no projects, no plans, we have no papers, no grants" for a Neanderthal baby project. The whole thing was just a misunderstanding that sprung from his interview with Der Spiegel promoting his new book, he explains. He mentions bringing back Neanderthals as a theoretical possibility in the book, tacking on a mention that such an idea would require an "adventurous" woman.

"It said you're going to need someone like that if you're going to do it," Church says. "It's certainly very different from taking out a want ad." While it may in fact be possible to bring back Neanderthals, Church says quite a few ethical, societal, and safety questions would need to be addressed first. But he allowed that the project could move forward at some point in the future: "I think it is up for discussion, and hopefully for several years we can have a calm discussion about it. It's way better to think of these things in advance."

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Showing 3 of 33 comments
johniestring
Jan 25, 2013 9:06 PM CST
actually, if you could reengineer my genetic makeup to make me a girl with a womb,.... hey, id do it :P
HMD-SMD-ITY
Jan 24, 2013 5:39 PM CST
No problem finding Neanderthals, just visit the Great State Fair of Oklahoma for plenty of sample subjects. Kind of a Jeff Foxworthy festival, if you will.
fractal
Jan 24, 2013 3:52 PM CST
When we are wiping out indigenous peoples as quick as we find them, what would be the point? Are they planning to put them in a zoo? And if would be cruel to make just one---we would need to make a tribe so they can have social contact...