A Life Decoded: My Genome: My Life

A Life Decoded: My Genome: My Life

J. Craig Venter

Language: English

Pages: 416

ISBN: 0143114182

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


The triumphant memoir of the man behind one of the greatest feats in scientific history

Of all the scientific achievements of the past century, perhaps none can match the deciphering of the human genetic code, both for its technical brilliance and for its implications for our future. In A Life Decoded, J. Craig Venter traces his rise from an uninspired student to one of the most fascinating and controversial figures in science today. Here, Venter relates the unparalleled drama of the quest to decode the human genome?a goal he predicted he could achieve years earlier and more cheaply than the government-sponsored Human Genome Project, and one that he fulfilled in 2001. A thrilling story of detection, A Life Decoded is also a revealing, and often troubling, look at how science is practiced today.

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is linked to heart attacks. GNB3 has a natural variation that we have known for some time to be associated with high blood pressure, particularly in people with left ventricular hypertrophy, a thickening of the heart muscle that can be life threatening. Variations in the gene also affect how patients respond to a frequently used medication for high blood pressure, e.g., the diuretic hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ). Animal and laboratory cell studies have given some insights into why the gene is

working with the president’s speechwriter.5 This gave me pause. I realize that in America such references are a political necessity, but it detracted from all my hard work and that of an army of genome scientists to have this huge advance in the rational pursuit of the secrets of life linked to a particular belief system. I certainly believe, like the president, that science amplifies and reveals the wonder of the world, but the thought of being a self-replicating bag of chemicals that resulted

to his colleagues, he returned to the old issue of whether my approach was truly new: “Venter’s claim to having ‘invented’ whole-genome sequencing is based on his leadership of a project to sequence a tiny bacterial genome that was nearly devoid of repeats.” Then followed the claim that I had lied: “In contradiction to Venter’s sworn testimony in June, 1998, Celera had kept its data entirely secret.” Olson did give me credit for the fact that the “Celera initiative undoubtedly accelerated the

the Marine Corps during World War II. They first met at Camp Pendleton in California but ended up in Salt Lake City to be near my father’s parents. While my paternal grandmother was a devout Mormon, my grandfather was anything but. One visitor recalled being invited into the garage by my grandfather to meet “Malcolm,” an old friend. Good ol’ Malcolm turned out to be a bottle of scotch. My grandfather had never agreed to a temple wedding, so my grandmother held the ceremony after he died, with

the Gina Kolata story in The NewYork Times, Wally was described as saying “he intended to be socially responsible with his investment in Dr. Venter’s work. He said he would have all of the genetic information uncovered by Dr. Venter published promptly and would collaborate freely with other companies and with the NIH.” The article continued: “Like others in the biotechnology industry, Mr. Steinberg said that he would be happiest if the Patent Office denied patents for gene fragments.”3 But

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