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J Craig Venter

A Life Decoded

Craig Venter has caused quite a stir in the scientific community, in that he turned the sequencing of the Human Genome into something of a race. He has also been criticised for his part in the commercialisation of the genome. In A Life Decoded:My Genome:My Life Venter tells his side of the story.

Taking a break from his job as a medic in the Vietnam war, Venter went for a swim, but had to swim back with one arm, using the other to hold off a poisonous sea-snake - you quickly find out the way Venter does things.

Venter entered the academic world, but was always keen to get ahead, and was soon running his own department. He became impatient with the delays and bureaucracy of government funding and so looked for funding from commercial sources. He wanted to be at the forefront of research, and would try to get the best out of his team, overcoming the teething troubles of the latest equipment. Unfortunately this meant that his results sometimes couldn't be reproduced by others, leading to doubts about their reliability. Venter soon was aiming at the prize of the Human Genome Sequence. His 'shotgun' technique offered the prospect of being able to sequence the whole genome, rather than labouring away with a part at a time. This meant that the sequencing was done several years ahead of schedule.

On the issue of commercialisation, Venter implies that he always aimed to make his results as widely available as possible, but would accept commercialisation if that meant that he could proceed faster. No doubt those interested in this aspect of the story will want to read other books on the subject, but this one certainly gives an important viewpoint on the human genome project.

Amazon.com info
Hardcover 400 pages  
ISBN: 0670063584
Salesrank: 441068
Weight:1.5 lbs
Published: 2007 Viking Adult
Amazon price $6.50
Marketplace:New from $4.94:Used from $0.49
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Amazon.co.uk info
Hardcover 400 pages  
ISBN: 0713997249
Salesrank: 973814
Weight:1.63 lbs
Published: 2007 Allen Lane
Marketplace::Used from £0.01
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Amazon.ca info
Hardcover 400 pages  
ISBN: 0670063584
Salesrank: 840866
Weight:1.5 lbs
Published: 2007 Viking USA
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 26.00:Used from CDN$ 1.36
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Product Description
Craig Venter is no ordinary scientist, and no ordinary man. He is the first human being ever to read their own DNA - and see the key to life itself. Yet in doing so, he rocked the establishment and became embroiled in one of the biggest controversies of our age. This is the story of his incredible life: from teenage rebel and Vietnam medic, to daredevil sailor and maverick researcher, whose race to unravel the sequence of the human genome made him both hero and pariah. Incorporating his own genetic make-up into his story, this is an electrifying portrait of a man who pushed back the boundaries of the possible.