Artist to clone Obama, Lady Gaga and Michael Phelps with yeast

Updated: Aug 21, 2012, 12:57 PM IST

Washington: Cloning humans hasn’t become a reality yet, but it is possible to duplicate part of a person`s chemical makeup - with yeast.

That`s what Jonathon Keats, who describes his job as “experimental philosopher,” plans to do

Instead of trying to duplicate genes, though, he``ll be duplicating the epigenetics of famous people. Epigenetics is the science of environmental effects on genes.

“It`s a new way of thinking about cloning. Genetics is not the whole story, the breakthrough field is epigenetics,” Keats told Discovery News.

Keats plans to culture yeast and expose it to the same chemicals the corresponding famous person is exposed to.

In the case of Michael Phelps or Obama, it`s the chemicals associated with their diets.

“We know pretty well what the White House diet is. Or with Michael Phelps, he takes in lots of carbs,” he said.

So in Phelps` case, the yeast cells will be exposed to phosphates, vitamin B12 and thiamine, bearing in mind the Olympic swimmer``s regimen of five-egg omelets, chocolate chip pancakes and coffee.

“Effectively, what happens is the cells will become more Phelps-ian,” Keats said.

For Obama, Keats will be giving the yeast cells nicotine apart from his diet as the president was once a smoker and he chewed Nicorette gum.

To make a clone of Lady Gaga, Keats has to consider her famous “drunk diet” and her habit of eating vegetables and fish.

Keats added that he``s looking at other famous figures including George Washington, who, was known to drink a lot of Madeira wine.

For Jesus Christ, he is investigating what people of his class and ethnic group ate.

The yeast clones will be exhibited starting Sept. 13 at the AC Institute in New York.