John Lennon’s tooth won’t bring the former Beatles singer back to life, but a Canadian dentist says he’d like to try. As Rolling Stone points out, Alberta resident Michael Zuk, who bought Lennon’s molar in November 2011, has now started a website and sent out a press release signaling his plans to try for a Lennon clone based on genetic material from the one-time pearly white. As Zuk puts it in the release, “To potentially say I had a small part in bringing back one of rock’s greatest stars would be mind-blowing.”
The rotten molar, which Zuk bought at auction for more than $30,000, has lived a full life for a tooth. According to RS, Lennon asked his housekeeper to throw it away but then thought better of it, recommending she give it to her Beatle-loving daughter. It was the daughter’s family who sold the enamel anomaly to Zuk in the first place.
Zuk is a piece of work, and he’s self-deprecating about it. In a video on his website, he refers to himself as “crazy.” In an audio clip on his website, he sings “Love Me Tooth” to the tune of the Beatles’ “Love Me Do.” The auction house selling the tooth described it as “too fragile” for DNA testing, but Zuk is not a man to let that stop him. He has also written a book about celebrity teeth and has sent the touth on a U.K. tour to promote mouth cancer awareness, among sundry other endeavors.
He may have bitten off more than he can chew. Jose Cibelli, a cloning expert at Michigan State University, told the Toronto Star the technology effectively isn’t there yet to clone a person from a tooth. Kerry Bowman, a bioethicist at the University of Toronto, also raised ethical concerns about the idea.
According to the Star, Zuk also has in his strange collection a tooth from John’s son Julian, a crown from Elvis Presley’s teeth (the King!), and hair from Paul McCartney, Justin Bieber, and Marilyn Monroe. It might interest Zuk to know that Black Keys singer Dan Auerbach’s ex has recently come into sole possession of something called “Bob Dylan hair.”
Zuk told the Star that Lennon’s cloning could potentially hold a place in public memory akin to that of December 8, 1980, when Lennon was shot dead. “Perhaps the day he was cloned could be the next monumental time in history that people remember,” Zuk is quoted as saying. Ain’t that the tooth.