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Dreamers, Visionaries, and Revolutionaries in the Life Sciences$
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Oren Harman and Michael R. Dietrich

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226569871

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226570075.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 27 July 2021

Neanderthals in Space

Neanderthals in Space

George Church’s Modest Steps Toward Possible Futures

Chapter:
(p.143) 9 Neanderthals in Space
Source:
Dreamers, Visionaries, and Revolutionaries in the Life Sciences
Author(s):

Luis Campos

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226570075.003.0010

Harvard synthetic biologist George Church has long envisioned possible futures for his field. With the publication of his Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves in 2012, however, Church dreamt up the futuristic, and yet atavistic, next step: the cloning of Neanderthals. Such efforts would enable us to recover and understand the nature of "true human diversity," he noted. All that would be needed was a "surrogate mother chimp—or... an extremely adventurous human female.” Such resurrected Neanderthals might "create a new neo-Neanderthal culture and become a political force." What’s more, this "modest step" could be an important next step in the human colonization of the universe, helping to "get at least some of our genomes and cultures off of this planet.” This chapter takes a critical look at the dark side of visionary innovation in biology, exploring the routes to path breaking science while highlighting how dreams may lead to nightmares.

Keywords:   George Church, cloning, Neanderthals, visionary innovation, Regenesis, human colonization

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