Bonham's, the British auction house is reportedly ready to auction off a lock of Mick Jagger's hair from a time before he became famous as the lead singer for The Rolling Stones.
This is not the first celebrity whose hair has been auctioned. Tresses from Elvis to Justin Bieber, to name just a few, have pulled down some hefty bids.
Note: A clump of hair believed to have been snipped from Elvis Presley’s scalp when he joined the Army in 1958 sold for $18,300 in 2009 according to CNN.
Future Celebrity Cloning Options?
Letting my mind run wild I started thinking about the premise of buying celebrity hair for future cloning options. It certainly offers food for thought.
Afterall, scientists are claiming in the not too distant future we'll be able to clone humans with small DNA particles. Sheep and other animals are already successfully being cloned.
I wonder if some lucky bidder who wins the auction for hair from Elvis, Justin Bieber or Mick Jagger will have the rights in the future to clone a carbon copy of the famous celebrity from their tresses?
Although Elvis wouldn't be able to voice his displeasure at being cloned from his hair, maybe his relatives or estate would. Certainly the Bieb might not like having himself cloned by a complete stranger who happened to have won his hair in a past charity auction.
Items You Need For Human Cloning
Of course the idea of cloning celebrities from their hair sounds a little far fetched. It certainly wouldn't be easy to clone another Elvis, Justin or Mick, at least with current human cloning history.
To make a copy of the famous singers you would need two major things. You'd DNA and an unfertilized egg. Not just any DNA, but intact DNA which clipped pieces of hair most likely would not contain.
Hair Clippings Are Made Up Of Dead Cells
Hair, once it grows from the scalp is made up of dead cells. Once the cells die its DNA quickly breaks up into small pieces.
While hair clippings would be difficult, if not impossible to utilize for successful cloning, root hair is a very different story. Since the hair roots contain living cells, you might actually be able to harvest undamaged DNA. It's a pretty far fetched conclusion, but definitely something to think about.
Once you have obtained the appropriate DNA nuclei, you would need to replace the nucleus from an unfertilized egg with one from the hair roots and start growing the egg in a dish. The next step would be to implant the egg into a donor uterus for nine months of growth.
Ethical Hurdles Of Cloning Celebrities From Their Hair
Although it sounds pretty straightforward, there's still lots of challenges with cloning most mammals. Even worse, those that survive to be born often have many defects.
In theory, while it might be possible to clone Elvis, Justin or Mick from their hair roots, major technical and ethical hurdles still exist. Will they eventually be resolved? Maybe.
Certainly if someone did manage to get celebrity hair which could eventually be cloned into a carbon copy of the famous celebrity whose head it was clipped from, it would result in a field day for a lot of attorneys.
Summary - Buying Celebrity Hair For Future Cloning
In the meantime, if you wish to obtain a lock of Mick Jagger's hair at auction, be prepared to pay an estimated auction price of between $2,000 and $4,000.
The current Mick Jagger's hair is being offered by the famous front man's former girlfriend, Chrissie Shrimpton.
According to the notes about the hair, Shrimpton's grandmother saved the hair - “unbeknown to her at the time,” according to Bonham’s – in a paper envelope on which was written, “Mick Jagger’s hair after being washed + trimmed by Chris at Rose Hill Farm.”
The hair is from the pre-Stones era from sometime in the early 1960s when Jagger was enrolled at the London School of Economics.
In case you're wondering, it's probably not root hair. But it never hurts to ask if you have future celebrity cloning goals in mind.Proceeds from the sale of Jagger’s hair will reportedly go to charity.