Tooth for Sale

You may say that he’s a dreamer, but one dentist is on a mission to clone John Lennon, & it all stems from a gifted tooth.

Nobody’s Child

Lennon (1940–1980), a former member of The Beatles, gave away one of his molars to his housekeeper. According to the story, he initially told the housekeeper, Dot Jarlett, to throw it away, but later suggested she keep it to give to her daughter, who was a big Beatles fan.

The family held onto the tooth until November 2011, when it sold at an auction in England for 19,000 British pounds, or $31,200 U.S., according to the Rolling Stone. The winning bid came from Canadian dentist Dr. Michael Zuk, who won via phone.

The Long & Winding Road

Dr. Zuk plans to use the DNA in the tooth to clone Lennon, though that plan will face significant hurdles. According to the Stone article, the DNA had degraded too much in the decades since it was gifted for the auction house to authenticate it via comparative analysis. It was seen as authentic because it came from the Jarlett family. A full sequence of Lennon’s DNA would be needed in order to clone the rock star.

The other issues, such as legality & morals, Dr. Zuk is considering in a lengthy process that includes making a documentary about the subject, according to a Newsweek article.

“I’m conflicted, of course,” Dr. Zuk said in the Newsweek article. “It’s not something I would just participate in without thinking it all the way through.”

Tomorrow Never Knows

Since the initial wave of stories around the purchase, Dr. Zuk has kept a low profile. It may be in part to some of the pushback he said he received from some of Lennon’s family, though he claimed to be on solid legal ground when it came to his ownership of that piece of Lennon’s body & its DNA.

Lennon was murdered in 1980 by a deranged fan in New York City. He was only 40 when he died, but he is largely considered to be one of the most influential musicians in the 20th century, with both hits from his time with the Beatles & in his solo work.

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