What reader could resist clicking on a headline about a mad scientist trying to find women to carry Neanderthal clones? It sounds like something from the old supermarket tabloid the Weekly World News, but this latest whopper is loosely based on a real statement by a real scientist.
In his book, Regenesis, written with Ed Regis, Harvard researcher George Church really did say that it might be possible to clone Neanderthal babies using the Neanderthal genome sequence reconstructed with synthetic biology. And the kicker: A cloned embryo of our extinct cousin could be gestated by an “adventurous” woman. (On the plus side, the first volunteer would be shoe-in to get her own reality show.)
There wasn’t much reaction at first. The statement was buried pretty deep in the book, which was something of a slog to read.
But then the German magazine...