Bringing a Neanderthal to Life

Practice Problem

Examining a fully analyzed Neanderthal genome might illuminate some of the genetic differences between Neanderthals and modern humans and their significance. But what if scientific curiosity extended to attempts—potentially successful—to bring a Neanderthal to life?

You are staffers for a senator in the state legislature who has heard that bringing a Neanderthal to life might be possible and that there are researchers within the state who are contemplating joining a research team to attempt the feat. These attempts, and, if the attempts were successful, the birth of a Neanderthal might occur within the state. The senator has asked you to prepare a presentation for her and fellow members of the state senate’s committee on scientific research and innovation.

She asks you to include in your presentation your findings about the current status of research on the Neanderthal genome and on the possibility of bringing a Neanderthal to life; the ethical and policy issues that attempts, including successful and unsuccessful attempts, would present; and your assessment of how these issues ought to be resolved.

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Primary contact author: Edward L. Queen II <equeen@emory.edu>

Alternative contact author: Roberta M. Berry <robertaberry@gatech.edu>

 

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Cite this page: "Bringing a Neanderthal to Life" Online Ethics Center for Engineering 4/9/2013 National Academy of Engineering Accessed: Sunday, December 21, 2014 <www.onlineethics.org/Resources/Cases/27562.aspx>