Got a working womb? Want to be remembered as one of the most adventurous (if slightly mad) women of the 21st century?
Then why not give birth to a Neanderthal baby?
Well, there are plenty of perfectly sensible reasons why not, but bear with us for a moment because a Harvard genetics professor thinks that he might actually be able to make this happen.
George Church, a genetics professor at Harvard School of Medicine, claims that the samples he has gathered from fossil bones is complete enough to reconstruct Neanderthal DNA.
Further, he believes that altering the human genome could hold the key to longevity and may even provide the answers to curing diseases such as HIV and cancer.
Church told German magazine Der Spiegel: “Neanderthals might think differently than we do. We know that they had a larger cranial size. They could even be more intelligent than us.
"When the time comes to deal with an epidemic or getting off the planet or whatever, it's conceivable that their way of thinking could be beneficial."
The geneticist's plan entails artificially creating Neanderthal DNA based on genetic code found in fossil remains, which would then be put into stem cells.
The stem cells would be injected into cells from a human embryo in the early stages of life, grown in a lab for a few days, and then implanted into the womb of a willing volunteer.
Church, who was one of the pioneers in synthetic biology that helped to initiate the Human Genome Project in the 1980s (the project that mapped DNA), believes that the stem cells would steer the development of the embryo along Neanderthal lines rather than human ones.
He told the magazine, “We can clone all kinds of mammals, so it’s very likely that we could clone a human. Why shouldn’t we be able to do so?”
Side note: before you start panicking that dinosaurs are about to wander across your front lawn Jurassic Park-style, fret not - the age limit for useful DNA is about one million years.
Although Church's plan is theoretically possible, in most countries human reproductive cloning is a criminal offense.
But if you are willing to flout regulations for the good of humanity, you might be leaving hospital with more than just a very hairy baby - a long history of self-experimentation among Nobel Prize winners suggests your chances of earning yourself an award are actually pretty high.
Previous victors, whose sanity was undoubtedly questioned by their close friends and family, include:
- Australian physician Barry Marshall, who infected himself with Helicobacter pylori to prove that this type of bacteria caused stomach ulcers. (It did indeed give him a stomach ulcer, as well as really, really bad breath.)
- German physician Werner Forssmann, who performed the world's first cardiac catheterization - on himself, despite widespread fears that the procedure would prove fatal
- Polish physicist Marie Curie, who exposed herself to radiation, later winning a Nobel Prize for the discovery of polonium and radium (although she did suffer crippling pain, anaemia, cataracts and, eventually, fatal leukaemia...)
Of course, for every successful self-experiment that has resulted in a Nobel Prize, there are just as many that failed.
Spare a thought for poor Alexander Bogdanov, who died following a blood transfusion experiment in which he received the blood of a student with malaria and tuberculosis.
Or poor Jesse Lazear, who died of yellow fever after allowing mosquitoes to feast on his blood during a field trip to Cuba (on the plus side, he helped to prove that insect bites were the true cause of the disease).
Perhaps giving birth to your great great great great great great great grandfather isn't such a good idea after all.