Lennon to be cloned from tooth DNA?

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Imagine . . . John Lennon, or at least a clone of the late Beatle, returning to shake his moptop at baffled mid-century pop fans. That's the bizarre, not to say twisted, dream of a dentist, who happens to be in possession of a chunk of the Lennon DNA lodged in a rotten tooth.

The Guardian reports that dentist Michael Zuk bought the molar at auction in 2011 for £19,500. It would require a rather more substantial investment to bring his dream to fruition.

"Many Beatles fans remember where they were when they heard John Lennon was shot," Zuk said. "I hope they also live to hear the day he was given another chance." He reports that scientists are already looking at 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. With researchers working on ways to clone mammoths, the same technology certainly could make human cloning a reality."

When it was auction, experts claimed that the tooth was too fragile to allow extraction of DNA, but Zuk begs to differ. He plans to harvest DNA, create tissue cells and and eventually a Beatle clone. If the science seems dubious, the legality must also be highly questionable.

There has already been considerable disquiet about the prospect of holograms of deceased stars featuring in live shows. The notion of cloning a dead rocker wanders substantially into the realms of bad taste.

Zuk doesn't seem overly concerned about ethics. "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, there are other ways to exploit his purchase, involving pendants and a sculpture made from Lennon's tooth dust, whatever that may be.

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