Ozzy Osbourne Is a Genetic Mutant

Osbourne's genome shows he's a part-Neanderthal with key gene variants.

ByABC News
November 2, 2010, 11:13 AM

Nov. 3, 2010— -- Despite a lifetime of hard partying, heavy metal rocker Ozzy Osbourne is alive and kicking at 61, and he may have his genes to thank for it. Now that the "Full Osbourne Genome" has been sequenced, the truth is out: the former lead singer of Black Sabbath is a genetic mutant.

The musician has several gene variants that "we've never seen before," said geneticist Nathaniel Pearson, who sequenced the rocker's genome, including variants that could impact how Osbourne's body absorbs methamphetamines and other recreational drugs.

"I've always said that at the end of the world there will be roaches, Ozzy and Keith Richards," Osbourne's wife Sharon Osbourne, said at Friday's conference. "He's going to outlive us all. That fascinated me -- how his body can endure so much."

Osbourne's resilience also piqued the interest of Knome, Inc., a genomics company that began sequencing the "full Ozzy genome" last July.

"Why not Ozzy?" Jorge Conde, co-founder and chief executive of Cambridge, Mass.-based Knome, told ABCnews.com.

Conde said the company was interested in exploring the genome of someone as musically talented as Osbourne. Of course, trying to figure out if good genes had anything to do with Osbourne's ability to handle his "aggressive" lifestyle was also a major draw for researchers, he said.

The results of Knome's sequencing were discussed on stage last Friday at this year'sTEDMED conference in San Diego, with Sharon Osbourne, Pearson, and Ozzy Osbourne all weighing in on what Osbourne's genes can mean for medicine.