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Canadian dentist hopes to clone John Lennon using tooth DNA

By Sean Michaels, The Guardian
Thursday, August 22, 2013 7:16 EDT
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Photo of John Lennon in Liverpool, England (Flickr, drinksmachine)
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Michael Zuk, who bought the Beatle’s molar in 2011, has begun sequencing his DNA as the first step in creating his double

A Canadian dentist is hoping to clone John Lennon using DNA from one of the singer’s rotten teeth. Michael Zuk, who bought Lennon’s molar at a 2011 auction, has begun sequencing the former Beatle’s DNA – the first step in a process set out by scientists who propose to clone a woolly mammoth.

“Many Beatles fans remember where they were when they heard John Lennon was shot. I hope they also live to hear the day he was given another chance,” Zuk said. The tooth has already been couriered to an unnamed US lab where scientists are “considering ways to extract [its] genetic code”. “I am nervous and excited at the possibility that we will be able to fully sequence John Lennon’s DNA,” Zuk said. “With researchers working on ways to clone mammoths, the same technology certainly could make human cloning a reality.”

Two years ago the Red Deer-based dentist paid £19,500 for a “discoloured molar” that had been passed down by Lennon to his Weybridge housekeeper, Dot Jarlett. It was acquired in the mid-60s, and Jarlett’s son said it had “been in the family ever since”. At the time of the sale, Omega auction house claimed the tooth was “too fragile” for DNA testing.

Nevertheless, Zuk denies that he has bitten off more than he can chew. With new advances in genetic research, he believes that Lennon’s DNA can be harvested and, in time, converted from tissue cells into stem cells, and eventually into a reborn Beatle. “To say I had a small part in bringing back one of rock’s greatest stars would be mind-blowing,” he said.

In the meantime, Zuk is promoting his other dental endeavours: pendants and a sculpture made from Lennon’s “tooth dust”, a photo book of celebrity champers, the parody song Love Me Tooth, and other initiatives to promote awareness of mouth cancer.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2013

 
 
 
 
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