REPORTER: It might soon be possible to clone Neanderthals, our closest extinct relatives. Geneticist George Church says it is more than theoretically possible to make a clone from extracted old DNA. He theorizes that studying cloned Neanderthals can help scientists better understand the human mind, but he does not intend to try. Scientists have already extracted DNA from Neanderthal bones, but the community thinks ethical issues will be the biggest obstacle.
GEORGE CHURCH, PROFESSOR OF GENETICS AT HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL: "Maybe we don't have to accept global warming as a truth in the 1850's, but we should be able to detect that nobody is actually working on cloning Neanderthals in 2013."
REPORTER: Dr. Rob Desalle, of the American Museum of Natural History, agrees.
ROB DESALLE, AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY, CURATOR, SACKLER INSTITUTE OF COMPARATIVE GENOMICS: "I think the likelihood of seeing a Neanderthal clone is the same as seeing a Tyrannosaurus Rex in Central Park actually. And that's because there are so many ethical issues involved."
REPORTER: Church plans to continue speaking publicy about his research, which focuses on using genes to treat and prevent disease.