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Tomorrow never knows: dentist hopes to clone John Lennon from rotten tooth

27 August 2013

By Dr Anna Cauldwell

Appeared in BioNews 719

Canadian dentist Michael Zuk, who spent almost £20,000 on one of John Lennon's rotten molars at an auction in 2011, now plans to sequence Lennon's DNA in the hope of cloning him.

Zuk announced in a press release that the tooth, believed to have originally been given by Lennon to his housekeeper, Dot, at his Kenwood home, has now been sent to Penn State University, USA, where 'scientists are considering ways to extract the genetic code from the fragile specimen'.

'I am nervous and excited at the possibility that we will be able to fully sequence John Lennon's DNA, very soon I hope', Zuk said. 'With researchers working on ways to clone mammoths, the same technology certainly could make human cloning a reality'.

Zuk believes that after extracting Lennon's DNA 'it's just a matter of sitting around waiting for the technology to advance just a little bit longer'. However, the use of Lennon's DNA to create a genetically identical person is both legally and technically problematic. Many jurisdictions, including Canada and the UK, have laws that prohibit reproductive cloning.

Professor Azim Surani, Cambridge University, UK, said 'There is a universally accepted ban on human cloning, which was agreed because most of the resulting embryos from animal experiments are abnormal'.

Furthermore, even if it was possible to produce a human clone with identical genes as the original, they would not be the same. Although DNA determines some of a person's characteristics, environmental factors also play a major role. A clone would be unique and have its own personality, identity, and talents in the same way that identical twins do.

This has not deterred Zuk, however, from pursuing his goal. 'To potentially say I had a small part in bringing back one of rock's greatest stars would be mind-blowing', said Zuk, who has created a website dedicated to his attempt at bringing back Lennon. Who knows, Beatles fans desperate for a comeback tour might yet see their dream realised!


27 June 2016 - by Rachel Siden 
Hundreds of genes become active after death and can stay active for up to four days, according to a study...
14 April 2014 - by Chee Hoe Low 
Although this show jumped to conclusions about what the DNA of famous people could tell us, its ridiculous premise was amusing enough to keep viewers entertained...
02 September 2013 - by Dr Dusko Ilic 
I could tell straight away that Canadian dentist Michael Zuk, who invested in John Lennon's rotten molar in the hope of cloning the great musician, is a big fan of Michael Crichton's 'Jurassic Park'...

27 April 2009 - by Dr Rebecca Robey 
In a controversial documentary for the Discovery Channel aired last week, Dr Panayiotis Zavos, a notorious US fertility doctor, claimed to have successfully created and implanted cloned human embryos with the intention of producing live human clones. Scientists and medical ethicists have unanimously condemned him for his...
06 October 2008 - by MacKenna Roberts 
The Australian Patent Office, IP Australia, are expected to grant a patent to internationally disgraced South Korean Scientist Hwang Woo-Suk for his human cloning technology which he fraudulently claimed led to false scientific achievements in 2005. Hwang is one of 18 researchers named on the patent application...
19 November 2007 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza 
The United Nation's Institute of Advanced Studies has issued a report containing a stark warning to the rest of the world: introduce global legislation to prohibit reproductive cloning or prepare to consider laws that protect cloned individuals from potential discrimination, prejudice and abuse. The report, entitled 'Is...
31 August 2004 - by BioNews 
Controversial US fertility doctor Panos Zavos has made more unsubstantiated claims of limited success in human cloning experiments. According to a report in the UK's Mail on Sunday, Zavos says he has created embryo clones of an 11 year-old girl and a 33 year-old man, who both died in road...

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Published by the Progress Educational Trust


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Speakers include

Professor Azim Surani

Professor Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz

Professor Robin Lovell-Badge

Sally Cheshire

Professor Guido Pennings

Katherine Littler

Professor Allan Pacey

Dr Sue Avery

Professor Richard Anderson

Dr Elizabeth Garner

Dr Andy Greenfield

Dr Anna Smajdor

Dr Henry Malter

Vivienne Parry

Dr Helen O'Neill

Dr César Palacios-González

Philippa Taylor

Fiona Fox

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Sandy Starr


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