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A Life Decoded: My Genome: My Lifeby J Craig Venter
Synopses & Reviews
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. 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 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. 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.
In this triumphant true story of one of the most fascinating and controversial figures in science today, Venter tells of the unparalleled drama in the quest to map the human genome--a tale that involves as much politics as science. 16-page b&w photo insert.
What is life?
Humans have been asking this question for thou­sands of years. But as technology has advanced and our understanding of biology has deepened, the answer has evolved. For decades, scientists have been exploring the limits of nature by modifying and manipulating DNA, cells and whole organisms to create new ones that could never have existed on their own.
In Creation, science writer Adam Rutherford explains how we are now radically exceeding the boundaries of evolution and engineering entirely novel creatures—from goats that produce spider silk in their milk to bacteria that excrete diesel to genetic circuits that identify and destroy cancer cells. As strange as some of these creations may sound, this new, synthetic biology is helping scientists develop radical solutions to some of the worlds most pressing crises—from food shortages to pandemic disease to climate change—and is paving the way for inventions once relegated to science fiction.
Meanwhile, these advances are shedding new light on the biggest mystery of all—how did life begin? We know that every creature on Earth came from a single cell, sparked into existence four billion years ago. And as we come closer and closer to understanding the ancient root that connects all living things, we may finally be able to achieve a second genesis—the creation of new life where none existed before.
Creation takes us on a journey four billion years in the making—from the very first cell to the ground-breaking biological inventions that will shape the future of our planet.
How scientists are closer than ever to not only uncovering the mystery of how life was created, but to replicating that moment
Within the first billion years after this planet formed, a spark of life spontaneously ignited, turning inanimate chemicals into what we now would recognize as a living thing: a cell. Four billion years later, science has catalogued more than a million species.
Science writer Adam Rutherford shows how unprecedented advances in our understanding of life have equipped us with the ability to create entirely new life-forms: goats that produce spider silk in their milk, bacteria that excrete diesel, genetic codes that identify and destroy cancer cells. This new synthetic biology is poised to offer radical new solutions to the crises of food shortage, pandemic disease, and climate change.
By charting the history of our evolution, questioning what life really is, and identifying the milestones in our understanding of biological processes, Rutherford shows how this frontier of science will kickstart an industrial revolution that will dominate the rest of this century.
About the Author
J . Craig Venter, a pioneer in the world of genomic research, is one of the leading scientists of the twenty-first century. I n February 2001, he published the completed sequence of the human genome.
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