Harvard geneticist George Church clarified on Monday reports that he is seeking an adventurous woman willing to allow science the use of her womb to give birth to a Neanderthal child from ancient DNA.
Under age pregnancy is unhealthy for the mother and the baby. The 9-year-old child who gave birth in Mexico underwent a C-section
Mr Church insisted that he was simply stating a theory when he described in a question and answer exchange that scientists face if they attempt to clone a Neanderthal which became extinct 30,000 years ago.
Mr Church explained that he was misquoted by newspapers that based their stories on an article in the German newspaper Der Spiegel, although he stressed that the daily reported his words correctly.
He labeled some of the quotes as pure fabrication, particularly the lines "I can create a Neanderthal baby, if I can find a willing woman" and "I have managed to attract enough DNA from fossil bones."
Mr Church said that non-Spiegel news agencies probably got these comments from the German language of the article and did the translations themselves in English, which resulted in the wrong quotes.
"The public should be able to detect cases where things seem implausible . . . Everybody's fib detector should have been going off. They should have said, 'What? Who would believe this?' . . . This really indicates that ne should have scientific literacy," Reuters quoted Mr Church.
Although the idea of surrogacy for a Neanderthal baby created images of him being a Frankenstein or compares him to a character in Jurassic Park who attempts to open a theme park full of living dinosaurs, Mr Church said he would continue to talk about his research in his aim to use genes to treat and prevent diseases.
He cited several science issues such as climate change, space exploration and public health concerns as reasons why scientists should continue interacting with media.
"I do want to connect the public to science because there are so many decisions to be made if the way they learn it, if they learn it faster by talking about Neanderthals than they did by getting rote learning in high school, that's great," he added.
However, he said that "we really should get the public of the entire world to be able to detect the difference between a fact and a complete fantasy that has been created by the Internet."
To contact the editor, e-mail:
Most Popular Slideshows
- Australia Bids Adieu to Adam Spencer's Mornings on ABC's "702 Breakfast" Show [PHOTOS]
- Top 10 Hottest Celebrities with Shocking Weight Loss (And Find Out Their Secrets!) [PHOTOS]
- SEE PHOTOS! Eva Longoria Wears No Panties at Cannes 2013, Revealed in Embarrassing Wardrobe Malfunction [SLIDESHOW]
- Demi Lovato Snapped Getting Flirty with The X-Factor Boss, Simon Cowell? [PHOTOS]