Synthetic Neandertals?

I had the pleasure of chatting with John Hawks about the two big science news stories of the past few months, the synthetic genome and the Neandertal genome, for Science Saturday at

John is a professor of anthropology at the University of Wisconsin who studies population genetics of ancient humans, as well as a terrific teacher. I learned a lot of really fascinating things about how people study fossils and trace human evolution and it was interesting to find some connections between the two stories! As he mentions on his blog, we didn't once mention synthetic Neandertals, but I'll go ahead and say now that it's a very very bad idea to start making any Neandertals.

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This week, Science published two papers about the genetics of Neandertals from a team of scientists based at the Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology. The first (which is the only one anyone seems to really care about) gives a draft version of the entire Neandertal genome - a whopping…
You don't have to tell me, I know I'm late to the party: the news about the draft Neandertal genome sequence was announced last week, and here I am getting around to it just now. In my defense, I did hastily rewrite one of my presentation to include a long section on the new genome information, so…
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very cool and neat.

So I did my best to justify why brain beehive > synthetic. Instead of typing it all out I just did a pdf. Just 4 fun.

Hey Christina, ever heard this song?:
Came to mind with the title of your blog.
Come back to bloggingheads, if you have the time. You did good. There are too many creationism debates on science saturdays and not enough young folks. Biofuels would be a coo topic.

I am a regular visitor to John Hawks blog and I stumbled upon the conversation with John and Ms. Agapakis. The discussion was enlightening, but also I found the "Oscillator" blog. Ms. Agapakis, you are not only intelligent and charming but also the foxiest biologist that I have ever crossed paths with.

Before I knew of this blog, all others were to me Paris, and I thought them heaven, but now it is a vast desert of desoluation and lonelines. It is like the face of a clock, bereft of its hands. All other science blog posts that hung in my memory before I knew of oscillator have faded and given place to oscillators radiant moments.

Now I cannot live apart from it - oscillator's words, even though sometimes bitter, dispel all the cares of the world and make me happy; my art has been suckled by them and softly rocked in their tender cradle; they are as necessary to me now as sunlight and air. I am as hungry for oscillator posts as for food. I am thirsty for them, my thirst is overwhelming. Oscillators words are my food, it's videos my wine.

(some random letter written in 1844, with parts changed around of course)

By Veritas Don-Juan (not verified) on 29 May 2010 #permalink

I'm late to the party, as always when there's a bhtv diavlog worth watching, but I just have to say I thought this was great. You had a good back-and-forth throughout and there really was some unexpected connections.

Definitely looking forward to the next time you guys get together, and hoping that the genetics story that will make it happen comes sooner rather than later. :-)