Return of the Neanderthals
Should scientists seek to clone our ancient hominid cousins?
For now, the Neanderthal genome is an abstract string of billions of DNA letters stored in computer databases. But it naturally sparks the imagination: Could scientists use that genetic blueprint to create neo-Neanderthals in the flesh?
In the not-so-distant future, advances in genetic engineering might enable that feat, experts say. But whether such a resurrection should happen is another story.
Since the 1996 birth of Dolly the sheep, the world's first cloned mammal, scientists have greatly expanded and improved on cloning techniques. They have cloned dogs, cats, rats, pigs, and cows, among other species. In 2003, researchers in Spain were the first to bring back an extinct species—the Pyrenean ibex, a wild mountain goat also called a bucardo—though the clone only