Craig Venter

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John Craig Venter (born October 14, 1946) is an American biologist and entrepreneur, most famous for his role in being one of the first to sequence the human genome and for his role in creating the first artificial life form in 2010.


  • I think from my experience in war and life and science, it all has made me believe that we have one life on this planet. We have one chance to live it and to contribute to the future of society and the future of life. The only "afterlife" is what other people remember of you.
  • I could trace own EST brainwave to a flight back from a trip to Japan. But, of course, great ideas are often simultaneously conceived by several people who have responded in a similar way to the climate of thinking, and it can be hard to pin down when and precisely how a flash of inspiration is born. Kaplan had taught me that good ideas are a dime of dozen for a smart person, and the only thing that distinguishes good from great is in how an idea is executed—how it becomes reality. Scientific history is littered with stories of one person having an idea but not following through on it only to see another have a similar inspiration and then prove it to be valid.
  • At the hearing I not only described the EST method and the rapid rate of human gene discovery but also voiced by concerns about NIH's patent efforts, a subject I was glad to get out in the open. The room went quiet as many were startled by this discovery and then Watson suddenly shouted that it was "sheer lunacy" to file such patents, adding that "virtually any monkey" could use the EST method and that he was "horrified." As Cook-Deegan, a Duke University genome discussant, described the event, "Watson was lying in wait and took aim with heavy artillery." Cook-Deegan, who was Watson's assistant at the time, told me later that Watson had practiced the lines for a week prior to the hearing.
  • Tenure actually delivers a doubly whammy to the organizations that endure this outmoded arrangement. The second-rate people who thrive in a tenured environment like nothing more than to surround themselves with more mediocrity and drive out those who might excel and reveal the shortcomings of the entrenched.

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