A Life Decoded: My Genome: My Life by Criag Venter

Craig Venter is the head of Celera, the private research company that won a race with the National Institutes of Health’s Human Genome Project to sequence the human genome.

Now, in a clumsily written autobiography, Venter offers his side of the story, whining a little about being an eternal underdog, fighting for truth and attempting to make scientific discoveries solely to help others. His opposition in this struggle by a league of scientists out to advance their own careers, by a federal bureaucracy incapable of rationally using public funds to promote scientific advances (Is big brother ever active and rational?) and by the heads of corporations willing to do almost anything to make money (is there any other purpose for big business to pay attention to anything else?).

Venter accuses all of the big players—the Human Genome Project’s Frances Collins and Nobel laureate James Watson, among many others—of outright dishonesty. Ignore the over whining and be skeptical of the accusations, but there’s still a terribly depressing story about the politics of big science.

Venter also attempts to contextualize the controversy swirling around the patenting of DNA sequences. Despite this book being unbiased it is well worth reading for the fascinating perspective it offers on one of the biggest scientific discoveries of all time.

A Life Decoded: My Genome: My Life by Criag Venter


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