Rocker Ozzy Osbourne is a Real Neanderthal


I should have gotten to this earlier, but the lead singer of Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne, has had his complete genome sequenced by Knome, Inc. One question on the minds of the researchers is how could such a hard-living drug-enjoying guy still be alive at age 61? ABC News reports

… the most notable differences in Osbourne's genes had to do with how he processes drugs and alcohol. Genes connected to addiction, alcoholism and the absorption of marijuana, opiates and methamphetamines all had unique variations in Osbourne, a few of which Knome geneticists had never seen before.

"He had a change on the regulatory region of the ADH4 gene, a gene associated with alcoholism, that we've never seen before," Conde told "He has an increased predisposition for alcohol dependence of something like six times higher. He also had a slight increased risk for cocaine addiction, but he dismissed that. He said that if anyone has done as much cocaine he had, they would have been hooked."

The Prince of Darkness also a 2.6-times increased chance for hallucinations associated with marijuana, though Osbourne said he wouldn't know if that were true because he so rarely smoked marijuana without other drugs also in his system.

Ironically, Osbourne's genes suggest that he is a slow metabolizer of coffee, meaning that he would be more affected by caffeine.

"Turns out that Ozzy's kryptonite is caffeine," Conde said.

In addition, it turns out that Knome gene sequencers found bits of Neanderthal DNA tucked away in Osbourne's genome …

…there's the fact that Osbourne had Neanderthal genes in him.

"People thought that [Neanderthals] had no descendents today, but they do," Pearson said at the conference. "In east Asia and Europe, a lot of us have a little Neanderthal ancestry. We found a sliver of the genes in Ozzy. We also looked at [Knome's] founder, George Chruch, and he has about three times as much as Ozzy does."

Earlier this year, researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany reported finding genetic sequences from Neanderthals in the DNA of contemporary people which means the two groups must have interbred.

Contrary to what some of my detractors might believe, a preliminary look at my genetic make-up by Princeton biologist Lee Silver found no Neanderthal sequences in my DNA. (Not that there's anything wrong with Neanderthal heritage.)

Just a heads up: Look for my article in which I reveal the details of my genetic makeup to all the world in the January, 2011 issue of Reason. Like Osbourne I have some genetic variations that suggest a fondness for alcohol and tobacco. On the other hand, I am a fast metabolizer of caffeine. I also do not have a propensity to bite off the heads of bats [YouTube].