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The long awaited companion piece to The Double Helix,
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This review is from: Life at the Speed of Light: From the Double Helix to the Dawn of Digital Life (Hardcover)
Craig Venter led one of the two organisations that gave us the first full draft of the human genome in 2001. But he has achieved much more than this. A PhD graduate himself, he also has that rare entrepreunarial genius that brought together his love of science, and in particular genetic science, with the ability to promote his own ideas and attract commercial and non-commercial support and funding to bring his ideas into fruition as world level pioneering research. The book has all the hall marks of a brilliant autobiography. It lucidly explains complex scientific facts, methodologies and the inner working of genomes in a way that an ordinary reader can readily grasp.
Beginning with the story of Nobel Prize winning physicist, Erwin Schroedinger, who inspired Watson and Crick to looking for the double helix of DNA, he moves on to his own pioneering research in producing the first complete bacterial genome, the first archael genome, and then the extraordinary, controversy-laden epic of setting up the company, Celera, which invented major new methodologies to make possible the deciphering of the complexities of the entire human genome. This utterly changed the research approaches to the modern world of genomics.
Venter continues to hit the cusp of exploration, producing the first bacterial form with a deliberately determined genome that aimed at discovering the basic genes required for the simplest cellular form of life.
One wonders what he will take on next - the first true artificially created life form using entirely novel genes?