“If scientists think they can clone Mammoths, then John Lennon could be next.” This is the quote from Edmonton, Alberta today, August 16, 2013, by Dr. Michael Zuk, who is collaborating with American scientists to decode the DNA from John Lennon’s tooth.
The dentist attracted world-wide attention in 2011 for purchasing the tooth for over $30,000 at a UK auction in 2011. Lennon gave the rotting tooth, which had just been extracted, to his housekeeper Dot Jarlett in the 60s. The molar has been put to good use since then. It participated in a number of charitable ventures including a tour of the UK to raise awareness of oral cancer. A line of John Lennon DNA pendants was created, and was included in a celebrity DNA documentary as well as many other television appearances.
According to Zuk, John Lennon's tooth is now going under the microscope in a US lab with scientists considering ways to extract the genetic code from the fragile specimen, While he’s mum on any details, Dr. Zuk says he hopes that it will provide insight into Lennon's genes. The findings could be revealed in a UK documentary on celebrity genetics. He stands firm with his conviction that the investment could be one of the best decisions of his life. Zuk says "to potentially say I had a small part in bringing back one of Rock's greatest stars would be mind-blowing.”
He continued, "I am nervous and excited at the possibility that we will be able to fully sequence John Lennon's DNA, very soon I hope. With researchers working on ways to clone mammoths, the same technology certainly could make human cloning a reality," says Dr. Zuk.
MORALITY OF CLONING
Is Dr. Zuk the modern day Dr. Frankenstein? Moral questions abound on cloning; and this testing on John Lennon’s DNA will no doubt raise a furor of debate. The cloning of Dolly the sheep in 2003 made headlines and was the heated subject of many scientific as well as spiritual publications. Comparisons were made at that time to the ideology behind Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein.”
Written in 1818, “Frankenstein” emerged from a dream Shelley had, and resulted in a novel about a scientist who created life from dead body parts, using electricity. He was horrified at the monster he created when it did come to life. It was a fact at that time, that scientists were stealing corpses from graveyards in the black of night, to perform tests on them. Mary Shelley and her husband, the poet Percy Shelley, were highly interested in these controversial subjects.
It could very well be, that the grisly 19th century practices, are transforming into a futuristic and scientific model. Are we headed towards a future where we attempt to make “copies” of those we idolize--the ultra-rich and famous, and ultra talented, as in Lennon’s case?
Dr. Zuk’s website dedicated to the John Lennon DNA project may be found at JohnLennonDNA.com.
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