ST. LOUIS, MO., October 27, 2010 – Cofactor Genomics LLC., in conjunction with Knome and Life Technologies, constructed genomic DNA libraries and sequenced Ozzy Osbourne’s genome. Cofactor generated approximately 39 Gb of sequence data, or 13x coverage of Ozzy’s genome, on a newly installed Applied Biosystems SOLiD 4 system by Life Technologies of Carlsbad, CA while Knome, of Cambridge, MA provided analytical interpretation. The results and findings will be announced at the TEDMED conference in San Diego on Friday, October 29.
When the analysis and interpretation was complete, Dr. Nathan Pearson, a scientist at Knome, went to the UK to present the results to Ozzy. The results were derived by comparing Ozzy’s genome sequence to all the current research in the US National Library of Medicine and human reference genome revision 18 (hg18). It was discovered that Ozzy has several famous relatives, in that they share Haplotypegroup-T and Haplotypegroup-T2 mitochondrial DNA, including Stephen Colbert and Henry “Skip” Gates. Ozzy’s DNA also revealed small portions of Neanderthal DNA which occurred from Neaderthal-human interbreeding thousands of years ago. To note, the founder of Knome, Dr. George Church has approximately 3 times more Neaderthal DNA than Ozzy.
Other interesting comparisons showed Ozzy is 6 times more likely than the average person to have a dependency to alcohol while showing a lower than average predilection to heroine and nicotine addiction (cigarettes were the fist thing he gave up several years ago when he went clean). Based on these results, it is no surprise that he drank several bottles of cognac a day for years. Interestingly, how he was able to handle that amount of alcohol may be explained by a mutation in the regulatory region of his ADH4 gene that metabolizes alcohol. This variation could have allowed him to process the alcohol at a faster rate than the normal person, leading to less health risks.
One of the most interesting findings was Ozzy has two version of the COMT gene (Catechol-O-methyltransferase) called “warrior” and “worrier”. This is an enzyme that degrades dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. The “warrior” variant has been implicated in increased executive functions such as awareness, planning, organization, self-awareness, and potentially most important for Ozzy, self-regulation. While the “worrier” variant has been implicated in a decrease of these functions. In Ozzy’s own words, “I always thought it was just the booze and drugs that made me do crazy things like that, even though I’ve always been a hypochondriac, and in some ways quite ananxious and insecure person. Maybe it’s more to do with my genes. Those two sides of my personality sum me up perfectly. Being a warrior — the crazy bat-eating Prince of Darkness — has made me famous. Being a worrier has kept me alive when some of my dearest friends never made it beyond their mid-twenties.”
Cofactor Genomics, based in St. Louis, MO., has provided next-generation sequencing and analysis services to customers since 2008. The company utilizes both the Illumina and SOLiD sequencing platforms in combination with commercial and proprietary analysis software and pipelines. In the short time since their inception, Cofactor has established a reputation for extremely high quality and consistent data generation, and has experienced dramatic growth.
Life Technologies headquartered in Carlsbad, CA is the manufacturer of the Applied Biosystems SOLiD line of Next-Generation sequencers. Knome located in Cambridge, MA provides whole genome sequencing and analysis for biomedical researchers and physician-directed families.
“Cofactor is very excited to have been an integral part of this effort to sequence Ozzy’s genome. Often in genetics and sequencing Cofactor’s work goes unnoticed by the general population,” noted Jon Armstrong, Chief Marketing Officer of Cofactor Genomics. “This was an excellent chance to show people what we do everyday and what will soon be a part of our everyday lives.”