Bio-genetic technology is advancing faster than our ability to understand the ethical issues and consequences that arise from such capabilities. With the entire Neanderthal genome mapped, it may be only a short time before some daring scientists, along with a willing surrogate, clone and give birth to a real, live Neanderthal infant; a living being with the potential for intelligent thought equivalent, and perhaps even superior, to our own mental capabilities.
How would our laws, ethics, and religions deal with the what is essentially the resurrection of an extinct human species? What rights and protections would this child have? Neither human, nor ape, would it be considered property, like any other cloned animal? Or would it be guaranteed the rights and privileges we expect for ourselves?
Andrew Brown, Zach Zorich, and Heather Pringle are among many scientists and bioethicists who have explored the multitude of issues that would arise if a healthy Neanderthal child (or two, or three) were born.
We are possibly closer to this reality than you might think. Our technology frequently exceeds our laws and ethics. Only our morals stand between us and disaster.