Lucy Mangan: wanted – mother for Neanderthal baby

'Don't you long, occasionally, for something really, really interesting, something different, something overwhelmingly "other" to happen?'

It's possible that the snow has driven me stir crazy. Although, as someone who, when under stress, still draws diagrams of the underground, Womble burrow-based home that she plans to build when she wins the lottery, I think that is highly unlikely. In any case, I have been seized by the idea of having another baby.

Not just any old baby – I've already got one of those – but a Neanderthal baby. Earlier this week Professor George Church, a genetic researcher at Harvard Medical School, posited that it would someday be possible to clone such an infant. Later in the week, alas, the quote that caught my eye – that he was looking for "an adventurous human female" to incubate the hirsute little hybrid – turned out to be a mistranslation by his German interviewer, but by then it was too late. I was hooked. This, I realised, was what my self-circumscribed, calculatedly monotonous existence had actually been preparation for. I have, I now know, been saving up all my crazy-points for this.

Consider the advantages to taking part:

1) I wouldn't have to have sex. My close reading of three articles about cloning over the years tells me that the fertilisation process runs roughly thus: introduce a couple of gametes to each other in a doubtless sumptuously appointed Petri dish (American medical schools have the money to treat them well), let them get acquainted over a nice bottle of Chateau de Zygote, then insert a few grunting bits of dioxyriboneanderthal acid into some stem cells while waiting for love to weave its magic spell. Pop adulterated cells into the resulting embryo and implant that into the gracious hostess, aka moi. I reckon I can read Gone Girl all the way through without putting him off his stroke at all.

2) It would be – and I mean this quite sincerely – so interesting. Don't you long, occasionally, for something really, really interesting, something so different, something so overwhelmingly "other" to happen? Something unquestionably dramatic, something so fascinating that nobody who overheard even a word about it could resist dropping whatever they were doing and bounding over to find out more? 

For a long time, The Good Wife did this for me, but now Kalinda's husband has been revealed, I'm ready for something more.

3) It would be the chance to be in at the very beginning of something. All the great inventions and scientific breakthroughs – the steam engine, the smallpox vaccine, the hover mower – were made long ago. Since then, we've done nothing but tinker round the edges. I'm not saying the internet isn't great, but imagine, imagine being alive when Jenner first drew pus off a cowpoxed milking maid and zoinked it into the arm of an eight-year-old boy. Imagine him saying, "Don't worry, son, I've got a theory!" and then watching that theory in practice, and watching that practice start to roll round the country, the world and down the generations to save countless millions upon millions of lives.

OK, I accept that spawning a Neanderthal probably wouldn't be quite so revolutionary, but on the other hand I bet I'd get more followers on Twitter than Jenner ever dreamed of.

Harvard – assuming this is ever possible – I am available for hire.


Lucy Mangan

The GuardianTramp

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