A Life Decoded: My Genome, My Life

Front Cover
The triumphant true story of the man who achieved one of the greatest feats of our era—the mapping of the human genome

Growing up in California, Craig Venter didn’t appear to have much of a future. An unremarkable student, he nearly flunked out of high school. After being drafted into the army, he enlisted in the navy and went to Vietnam, where the life and death struggles he encountered as a medic piqued his interest in science and medicine. After pursuing his advanced degrees, Venter quickly established himself as a brilliant and outspoken scientist. 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 less money, than the government-sponsored Human Genome Project would— a prediction he kept in 2001.

A Life Decodedis 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. He also reveals how he went on to be the first to read and interpret his own genome and what it will mean for all of us to do the same. He describes his recent sailing expedition to sequence microbial life in the ocean, as well as his groundbreaking attempt to create synthetic life. Here is one of the key scientific chronicles of our lifetime, as told by the man who beat the odds to make it happen.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - DougWilliams - LibraryThing

The book is VERY technical. A lot of good information on the human genome. (a complete record of a persons hereditary information and biological instructions for his offspring). However, unless you are really into heavy biology, you may have trouble finishing this read. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - jonesjohnson - LibraryThing

I wanted to love this book. It seems like it could be a real find of intellectual porn. This guy just comes off an an egotistical asshole. I don't know him, so I have no idea if it is an accurate portrayal. But after reading this, I wouldn't even want to talk to him at a cocktail party. Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
Writing My Code
5
University of Death
27
Adrenaline Junkie
49
Starting Over in Buffalo
75
Scientific Heaven Bureaucratic Hell
89
Big Biology
125
TIGRCub
159
Sequencing the Human
233
Mad Magazine and Destructive Businessmen
254
Flying Forward
267
The First Human Genome
281
The White House June 26 2000
310
Publish and Be Damned
320
Blue Planet and New Life
333
Acknowledgments
359

Gene Wars
171
Shotgun Sequencing
189
Institutional Divorce
216
Notes
361
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

J. Craig Venter is one of the leading scientists of the twenty-first century. A pioneer in the world of genomic research, he is recognized for his visionary contributions to the field. In February 2001, Venter published the completed sequence of the human genome. He is the founder and president of the J. Craig Venter Institute.

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