Craig Venter - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - Sent Using Google Toolbar

Craig Venter - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

J. Craig Venter (born John Craig Venter October 14, 1946, Salt Lake City) is an American biologist and businessman.



[edit] Biography

He was an ex surfer turned scientist and a Vietnam veteran. He began his academic career at a community college, College of San Mateo (California), after enlisting in the U.S. Navy and serving a tour of duty during the Vietnam War. On returning, he received his bachelor's degree in biochemistry in 1972, and his Ph.D. in physiology and pharmacology in 1975, both from the University of California, San Diego. In San Diego, he married former Ph.D. candidate, Barbara Rae. [1] [2] After working as a professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo, he joined the National Institutes of Health in 1984. In Buffalo, he divorced Dr. Rae-Venter and married his student, Claire M. Fraser, [3] and remained married to Ms. Fraser until 2005. [4]

While at NIH, Venter learned of a technique for rapidly identifying all of the mRNAs present in a cell, and began to use it to identify human brain genes. The short cDNA sequence fragments discovered by this method are called expressed sequence tags, or ESTs, a name coined by Anthony Kerlavage at The Institute for Genomic Research . In a controversial court case, Venter tried to patent these gene fragments and lost the case.

[ edit] Human Genome Project

He was the former president and founder of Celera Genomics, which became famous for running a parallel version of the Human Genome Project of its own for commercial purposes, using shotgun sequencing technology in 1999. The aim of the Celera project was to create a database of genomic data that users could subscribe to for a fee. This proved very unpopular in the genetics community and spurred several groups to redouble their efforts to produce the full sequence and release it as open access. DNA from 5 individuals was used by Celera to generate the sequence of the human genome; one of the 5 individuals used in this project was Venter. The Human Genome Project, which was composed of many groups from around the world, rendered the attempt to privatise the process unfeasible. [5] Venter was fired by Celera in early 2002 after it became clear that selling genome data would not become profitable and Venter resisted efforts by the company board to change the strategic direction of the company.

Despite their differing motivations, Venter and rival scientist Francis Collins of the National Institute of Health jointly made the announcement of the mapping of the human genome in 2000, along with US President Bill Clinton. [6] Venter and Collins thus shared an award for "Biography of the Year" from A&E Network. [7]

[edit ] Current work

Venter founded The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) in 1992. He is currently the president of the J. Craig Venter Institute, created and funded by TIGR's board (which Venter chairs). In June of 2005, he co-founded Synthetic Genomics, a firm dedicated to using modified microorganisms to produce ethanol and hydrogen as alternative fuels. He used his sloop, Sorcerer II, in the Global Ocean Sampling Expedition to help assess genetic diversity in marine microbial communities. [8]

Venter has been the subject of articles in several magazines, notably Wired, [9] The Economist, [10] Australian science magazine Cosmos [citation needed] and Atlantic Monthly. [11] Additionally, he was featured on The Colbert Report on February 27, 2007.

Venter appeared in the "Evolution" episode of the documentary television series Understanding .

On May 10th, 2007, Venter was awarded an honorary doctorate from Arizona State University. [12] He was on the 2007 Time 100 most influential people in the world list made by Time magazine.

On September 4th, 2007, a team led by Craig Venter, published his complete diploid DNA sequence [13], unveiling the six-billion-letter genome of a single individual for the first time.

[ edit] Mycoplasma laboratorium

Venter is seeking to patent the first life-form created by man, possibly to be named Mycoplasma laboratorium. [14] There is speculation that this bacterium may someday produce fuel. [15]

[edit ] Further reading

[edit] See Also

[edit] References

  1. ^ http://www.rae-venterlaw.com/who.htm
  2. ^ http://www.smh.com.au/news/science/the-god-of-small-things/2007/01/25/1169594430068.html?page=fullpage
  3. ^ http://www.smh.com.au/news/science/the-god-of-small-things/2007/01/25/1169594430068.html?page=fullpage
  4. ^ High-profile departure ends genome institute's charmed run, M. Wadman, Nature Medicine 13, 518 (2007).
  5. ^ Spufford, Francis [2003]. Backroom Boys. Faber.  
  6. ^ Jamie Shreeve, " The Blueprint of Life," U.S. News and World Report , 10/31/05, URL accessed 30 January 2007.
  7. ^ " Montgomery County, Maryland, Press Releases," December 19, 2000, URL accessed 30 January 2007.
  8. ^ Larkman, Kirell. " Yacht for Sale: Suited for Sailing, Surfing, and Seaborne Metagenomics", GenomeWeb.com, GenomeWeb News, September 7 2007. Retrieved on 2007- 09-07.  
  9. ^ Shreeve, James. " Craig Venter's Epic Voyage to Redefine the Origin of the Species," Wired, August 2004. Accessed June 7, 2007.
  10. ^ "The Journey of the Sorcerer", The Economist, Dec 4, 2004.
  11. ^ Douthat, Ross. "The God of Small Things," Atlantic Monthly, Jan/Feb 2007.
  12. ^ Aufrett, Sarah. " ASU Celebrates Spring Graduates," ASU Insight, May 11, 2007. Accessed June 7, 2007.
  13. ^ Levy S, Sutton G, Ng PC, Feuk L, Halpern AL, et al. (2007). "The Diploid Genome Sequence of an Individual Human". PLoS Biology 5 (10).  
  14. ^ http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05180/530330.stm
  15. ^ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/06/08/nbiofuel108.xml

[edit ] External links