Two years ago, one of John Lennon’s wisdom teeth, extracted during the height of Beatlemania, and kept by his housekeeper and her daughter for years, sold at auction for £19,000, where it was bought by a Canadian dentist. He put part of it into a necklace and a statue, but he’s revealed his plans to clone the former Beatle from the DNA in his tooth.
On a Channel 4 show called “Dead Famous DNA,” Michael Zuk, DDS, who owns the tooth, explained that he planned to clone John Lennon from DNA that could be found in the tooth and raise the clone as his son. Of course, he conceded that the technology to do extract enough DNA to create a complete genome for him, much less a clone, from the tooth, does not exist at this point in time.
He explained his plans to raise the clone as his son: “He would still be his exact duplicate but you know, hopefully keep him away from drugs and cigarettes, that kind of thing. But you know, guitar lessons wouldn’t hurt anyone right?” And, if that wasn’t enough, wait until you hear what he does to challenge Yoko and Sean’s claim on John Lennon’s estate: “I don’t think I would be the one, you know, owning his property, he would have the rights when he was old enough to make er, make a claim… [It] depends where you do these things. If it can’t be done in one country you can do these things in another.” And, if that wasn’t enough, he plans to clone John multiple times.
To quoute Dr. Zuk, “Well, if it works once it’s going to work again, right?”And, here’s where I try and burst Dr. Zuk’s bubble. Leaving aside the fact that, at this time, scientists can’t even clone animals without it going very wrong, much less humans, and that some scientists don’t even believe there’s enough DNA in the tooth to create a complete genetic portrait, much less a clone, there’s still no guarantee that he’ll turn out anything like John Lennon.
Here’s the thing; it’s very unlikely that his musical genius was the result of genetics; really, even though both Julia and Alf Lennon were witty and musical, like their son, nothing I’ve seen suggests the qualities that truly made John’s music great really came from them. Odds are, it had more to do with the massive chip John had on his shoulder (something I’m sure anyone raised by Aunt Mimi would get), and growing up as the musical scene of Britain was starting to evolve from beyond Gracie Fields, Vera Lynn, and George Formby with a new influx of American music. But before I start to sound too much like Malcolm Gladwell, I would also like to point out that Charles Manson, one of the most inarguably evil people alive, fathered an illegitimate son who, in contrast with his father, is a very kind-hearted House DJ who not only considers Gandhi his persona hero, and doesn’t even eat meat, but refuses to kill even insects. So, really, if the apple can really fall that far from the tree, is it any wonder that I don’t think it’s likely that his plan to clone John Lennon would work?