I want to see Keith Richards’ now. These two men could hold the key to earthly longevity.
In the continuing quest to understand Ozzy Osbourne, scientists have finally unravelled the singer’s most microscopic mystery: his genes. Following in the footsteps of mice and mammoths, Osbourne had his full genome sequenced and analysed by American researchers, who uncovered mutations related to addiction, metabolism, and Osbourne’s Neanderthal ancestors.
“I’ve always said that at the end of the world there will be roaches, Ozzy and Keith Richards,” said Sharon, Osbourne’s wife, at a press conference announcing the findings. “He’s going to outlive us all. That fascinated me.” Reps for a genetics firm called Knome approached the Black Sabbath frontman in 2007, asking if he’d consider joining Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates and DNA co-discovererJames Watson as one of the few human beings to have had their individual genomes sequenced. Osbourne finally consented, giving scientists a blood sample. “I was curious,” he explained to the Sunday Times. “Given the swimming pools of booze I’ve guzzled over the years – not to mention all of the cocaine, morphine, sleeping pills, cough syrup, LSD, Rohypnol … you name it – there’s really no plausible medical reason why I should still be alive. Maybe my DNA could say why.”
For the moment, the Osbourne genome offers as many questions as answers. “Ozzy carries several hundred thousand variants that have never been seen by scientists,” Nathaniel Pearson, Knome’s director of research, told Scientific American. “It’s going to be a while before we get enough data as a society to understand those variants.”