A Life Decoded: My Genome: My Life

A Life Decoded: My Genome: My Life

by J. Craig Venter

The triumphant true story of the man who achieved one of the greatest feats of our erathe mapping of the human genome Growing up in California, Craig Venter didnt appear to have much of a future.

In 1984 he joined the National Institutes of Health, where he introduced novel techniques for rapid gene discovery, and left in 1991 to form his own nonprofit genomics research center, where he sequenced the first genome in history in 1995.

In 1998 he announced that he would successfully sequence the human genome years earlier, and for far money, than the government-sponsored Human Genome Project would a prediction he kept in 2001.

A Life Decoded is the triumphant story of one of the most fascinating and controversial figures in science today.

In his riveting and inspiring account Venter tells of the unparalleled drama of the quest for the human genome, a tale that involves as much politics (personal and political) as science.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Science
  • Rating: 3.74
  • Pages: 390
  • Publish Date: January 14th 2008 by Viking Books
  • Isbn10: 0670063584
  • Isbn13: 9780670063581

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It was a little bit like reading Holly Madison's book Down the Rabbit Hole. Like Holly Madison, Venter engaged in very little self reflection of his own behavior while, at the same time, being keenly aware of every fault in those around him. I had to give this book 5 stars because it was the longest tantrum thrown by a scientist, possibly in the history of science biographies. Say what you will about his attitude, I haven't enjoyed reading a book this much in a long time.

Yes, this is about mapping the human genome, there's going to be science, but I just listened to Bill Bryson who made science FASCINATING, so my standards were too high for Venter.

Not the man who finds a grain of new and precious quality but to him who sows it, reaps it, grinds it and feeds the world on it" - Sir Francis Darwin, First Galton Lecture before the Eugenics Society (1914) p148: "Son, you are obviously doing extremely well." He did not strike me as being au fait with the science, so I asked him why my success was so obvious: "This is Washington, and we judge people by the quality of their enemies, and son, you have some of the best." - Narration p159: "Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal. As mentioned earlier, the yeast genome, which was only about three times the size of Haemophilus influenza, had required some one thousand "monks" working for almost ten yard in laboratories spread all over the world. - Narration p309: Then I received a copy of Tony Blair's speech, and my blood began to boil. I was so upset that I called Ari and told him that if Blair went ahead with those remarks, I would boycott the White House ceremony and hold my own press conference. Neal finally called and wanted to go through Blair's speech with me, line by line, to clarify what had offended me. "I can change anything you want in Collins's speech and even the president's, but you re asking me to change a major international address by a foreign head of state. Collins had also said he had nothing to do with the release of the ultimatum letter to the L.A. Times and ha blamed the Wellcome Trust. I was not going to let it happen a second time on live television from the White House. It was a relieved-sounding Neal Lane, who assured me that everyone had gotten my message and that Tony Blair's speech would be rewritten.

Venter has been particularly adept at finding quicker ways to do science, and that has been very threatening to others. The book does delve into the science of genetics pretty deeply in places, which didn't bother me, but could be a bit intimidating for others.

I found this book to be a very interesting read while much of the world is questioning the value of cooperation vs competition, with books like Atlas Shrugged and my personal favorite, Where Good Ideas Come From.

One thing I do like so far that "Dr. I massaged their heart in my hands! I swim like a Mutha!

He is the recipient of numerous honorary degrees and scientific awards including the 2008 National Medal of Science. He is also a member of many prestigious scientific organizations including the National Academy of Sciences.