Genetic research is coming up with new answers to questions of disease and inherited characteristics every day. But what can his genes tell us about Ozzy Osbourne?
Back in 2007, American genetics firm called Knome asked Ozzy if they could have a sample to allow them to sequence his individual genomes. He immediately accepted – apparently through a desire to find out why he is still alive after many years of drug and alcohol abuse.
The scientists have now completed their task – but there are no simple answers.
“Ozzy carries several hundred thousand variants that have never been seen by scientists,” Nathaniel Pearson, Knome’s director of research, told Scientific American.
So Ozzy is some sort of genetic mutation?
Most of these variants relate to how Ozzy’s brain processes dopamine – a neurotransmitter central to the reward system. It is associated with the pleasure system of the brain, providing feelings of enjoyment and reinforcement. It is released by naturally rewarding experiences such as food, sex, use of certain drugs and neutral stimuli.
Or to put it another way, it seems that Ozzy is genetically predisposed to alcohol and drug addiction. Hardly the greatest shock ever, is it?
A functioning change to the singer’s TTN gene was also discovered, which might give a clue as to why Ozzy still has good hearing after many years of fronting heavy metal bands. It may also be linked to a Parkinson’s like tremor – although that could also be down to years of drink and drug abuse.
So there you have it. Ozzy is unique. This is no surprise to his long suffering wife.
“I’ve always said that at the end of the world there will be roaches, Ozzy and Keith Richards,” said Sharon at a press conference to announce the findings. “He’s going to outlive us all. That fascinated me.”
Perhaps scientists should do Keef next. If they can find common genetic factors between the two great rock survivors we might be well on the way to the secret of immortality.