The idea was always going to be controversial, and had already led to condemnation from top scientists, bioethicists and the Christian Medical Fellowship.
But now it turns out that the news of a Harvard professor looking for an “adventurous” woman to give birth to a baby Neanderthal is simply not true.
News broke yesterday that Professor George Church of Harvard Medical School, one of the world’s leading geneticists, was planning to bring Neanderthals back to life by reconstructing their DNA and using a surrogate human mother to give birth to the baby.
But today Professor Church debunked the reports, calling them “entirely untrue” and suggesting the confusion comes from a poor translation of something he told Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine.
Speaking to the Boston Herald, Professor Church said: “The real story here is how these stories have percolated and changed in different ways... I’m sure we’ll get it sorted out eventually.”
Professor Church told the Herald that his phone was ringing off the hook yesterday, with reporters wanting to speak to him about what they believed were his plans to create hybrid animals like HG Wells’ fictional character Dr Moreau.
But the reporters were not in luck, as Professor Church told them he has absolutely no intention to bring our long-extinct relatives back to life.
“I’m certainly not advocating it…I’m saying, if it is technically possible someday, we need to start talking about it today,” he said
According to the Boston Herald, Professor Church blames the inaccurate reports on a mistake in an article written off from an interview with him in the Der Spiegel.
He reportedly believes poor translation skills may be part of the problem that led to his view that the science of bringing Neanderthals back to life may one day be possible, being reported as him actively looking to do so.