Professor says he's not seeking surrogate for Neanderthal baby - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

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Harvard professor says he's not seeking surrogate for Neanderthal baby

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NEW YORK (CBS5/AP) -

A professor at Harvard is debunking claims he was looking for a surrogate mother for a Neanderthal baby.

According to the Daily Mail, professor George Church of Harvard Medical School believes he can reconstruct Neanderthal DNA and resurrect the species that became extinct 33,000 years ago.

According to an interview with the Associated Press, Church said those reports are based on misunderstandings of an interview he gave the German magazine Der Spiegel. The publication had approached him to talk about his recent book, Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves.

Church said the idea of bringing back Neanderthals gets brief mention as a theoretical possibility, and the book refers to an "adventurous" woman merely to point out that the process would require a woman who no doubt would be adventurous.

Scientists have recovered DNA from Neanderthal fossils. Making a Neanderthal would start with putting such DNA into human cells. They would be used to make an embryo, which would be carried to term by a surrogate mother, Church said.

Such a process would face ethical questions involving respect for the mother and child, as well as safety issues, and it would also require societal approval, Church said.

[Related: Scientist: I'm NOT seeking a mom for a Neanderthal]

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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