Craig Venter Quotes.
The problem with existing biology is you change only one or two genes at a time.
When you think of all the things that are made from oil or in the chemical industry, if in the future we could find cells to replace most of those processes, the ideal way would be to do it by direct design.
My greatest fear is not the abuse of technology but that we will not use it at all.
We’re moving from reading the genetic code to writing it.
Genetic design is something we can use to fight the lack of sustainability we humans are forcing on the earth’s environment.
The pace of digitizing life has been increasing exponentially.
If I had a weak ego, and doubts about this, the first genome would not yet have been completed with US and UK government funding.
Cells will die in minutes to days if they lack their genetic information system. They will not evolve, they will not replicate, and they will not live.
If there is a race, it is one to bring the benefits of genomes to human therapeutics. We all want to get there. We all want people to have much more meaningful and productive lives as they age.
In a biological system, the software builds its own hardware, but design is critical, and if you start with digital information, it has to be really accurate.
The interpretation of medicine today is ‘do your clinical values fall within a normal range?’ Everything in the globe right now is in the law of averages, which mean absolutely nothing to individuals.
The Vietnam War totally turned my life around. Some people’s lives were eliminated or destroyed by the experience. I was one of the fortunate few who came out better off.
Perfect pitch is genetic. It’s 100% genetic.
We can now diagnose diseases that haven’t even manifested in the patient, and may not until the fifth decade of life – if at all.
In the past, geneticists have looked at so-called disease genes, but a lot of people have changes in their genes and don’t get these diseases. There have to be other parts of physiology and genetics that compensate.
I spent 10 years trying to find one gene.
When most people talk about biofuels, they talk about using oils or grease from plants.
Patents are basically rights to try and develop a commercial product.
The same oil that gets burned as fuel is also the entire basis for the petrochemical industries, so our clothing, our plastics and our pharmaceuticals all come from oil and its derivatives.
How we understand our own selves and how we work with our DNA software has implications that will affect everything from vaccine development to new approaches to antibiotics, new sources of food, new sources of chemicals, even potentially new sources of energy.
My genetic autobiography can be found throughout my body.
Traditional autobiography has generally had a poor press. The novelist Daphne du Maurier condemned all examples of this literary form as self-indulgent. Others have quipped that autobiography reveals nothing bad about its writer except his memory.
We have trouble feeding, providing fresh, clean water, medicines, fuel for the six and a half billion. It’s going to be a stretch to do it for nine.
‘Bloomberg’s, you know, for people who don’t use the service, provides through the Internet – through specialized computers – information about the financial world. It’s a very large data base. I think they have on the order of a billion dollars or more a year in revenue.
If I could change the science system, my prescription for changing the whole thing would be organising it around big goals and building teams to do it.
The Janus-like nature of innovation – its responsible use and so on – was evident at the very birth of human ingenuity, when humankind first discovered how to make fire on demand.
Every single cancer is a genetic disease. Not necessarily inherited from your parents, but it’s genetic changes which cause cancer. So as we sequence the genomes of tumours and compare those to the sequence of patients, we’re getting down to the fundamental basis of each individual person’s cancer.
The environment has fallen to the wayside in politics.
One of the fundamental discoveries I made about myself – early enough to make use of it – was that I am driven to seize life and to understand it. The motor that pushes me is propelled by more than scientific curiosity.
The future of society is 100% dependent on scientific advances.
Mitochondrial DNA is in higher concentration, lasts longer, and can be extracted from bones.
A lot of people spend their last decade of their lives in pain and misery combating disease.
I was a horrible student. I really hated school.
Genome design is going to be a key part of the future. That’s why we need fast, cheap, accurate DNA synthesis, so you can make a lot of iterations of something and test them.
Early on, when you’re working in a new area of science, you have to think about all the pitfalls and things that could lead you to believe that you had done something when you hadn’t, and, even worse, leading others to believe it.
I’m hoping that these next 20 years will show what we did 20 years ago in sequencing the first human genome, was the beginning of the health revolution that will have more positive impact in people’s lives than any other health event in history.
It turns out synthesizing DNA is very difficult. There are tens of thousands of machines around the world that make small pieces of DNA – 30 to 50 letters in length – and it’s a degenerate process, so the longer you make the piece, the more errors there are.
I’ve always been fascinated with adrenaline; it’s saved my life more than once, and it’s caused me to need it to save my life more than once. One of the most fascinating responses in human evolution, adrenaline sharpens your brain; it sharpens your responses.
I turned 65 last year, and each year I get more and more interested in human health. For most people it happens around age 50, but I’ve always been a slow learner. It’s critical in terms of the cost of health care.
Even with seemingly simple things like eye color, you can’t tell from my genetic code whether I have blue eyes or not. So it’s naive to think that complex human behaviors, like risk-seeking, are driven by changes in one or two genes.
Everybody is looking for a naturally occurring algae that is going to be a miracle cell to save the world, and after a century of looking, people still haven’t found it.
I think I’m a survivor. I could have suffered at least 100 professional deaths. I could come up with a list of the 100 times I’ve come closest to death, from having pneumonia as a child to car crashes.
For each gene in your genome, you quite often get a different version of that gene from your father and a different version from your mother. We need to study these relationships across a very large number of people.
It takes 10 kilograms of grain to produce one kilogram of beef, 15 liters of water to get one kilogram of beef, and those cows produce a lot of methane. Why not get rid of the cows?
People equate patents with secrecy, that secrecy is what patents were designed to overcome. That’s why the formula for Coca-Cola was never patented. They kept it as a trade secret, and they’ve outlasted patent laws by 80 years or more.
Energy is probably the most pressing demand on our planet.
Any virus that’s been sequenced today – that genome can be made.
We have learned nothing from the genome.
The mouse genome is an invaluable tool to interpret the human genome.
It is my belief that the basic knowledge that we’re providing to the world will have a profound impact on the human condition and the treatments for disease and our view of our place on the biological continuum.
I hope I’ll be remembered for my scientific contribution to understanding life and human life.
A doctor can save maybe a few hundred lives in a lifetime. A researcher can save the whole world.
Darwin didn’t walk around the Galapagos and come up with the theory of evolution. He was exploring, collecting, making observations. It wasn’t until he got back and went through the samples that he noticed the differences among them and put them in context.
Society and medicine treat us all as members of populations, whereas as individuals we are all unique, and population statistics do not apply.
Synthetic biology can help address key challenges facing the planet and its population. Research in synthetic biology may lead to new things such as programmed cells that self-assemble at the sites of disease to repair damage.
We can create new food substances.
Knowing what your parents have gives you hints of things, but your genome is a totally unique combination of and interchange of DNA from your parents. There is no one else like you genetically.
I was a surf bum wannabe. I left home at age 17 and moved to Southern California to try to take up surfing as a vocation, but this was in 1964, and there was this nasty little thing called the Vietnam War. As a result, I got drafted.
There’s a lot of what I call ‘bio-babble’ and hype out there from a lot of bioenergy companies.
You’d need a very specialized electron microscope to get down to the level to actually see a single strand of DNA.
Agriculture as we know it needs to disappear. We can design better and healthier proteins than we get from nature.
I am not sure our brains and our psychologies are ready for immortality.
As a scientist, I clearly see the potential for harnessing the power of nature.
The Anthropocentic Age – the first age in which humankind is the dominant species on the planet – cuts both ways: it is up to us to destroy or save the planet. We certainly have the ability.
Since my own genome was sequenced, my software has been broadcast into space in the form of electromagnetic waves, carrying my genetic information far beyond Earth. Whether there is any creature out there capable of making sense of the instructions in my genome, well, that’s another question.
The photosynthesis we see with plants is not very efficient. Algaes are more efficient.
The day is not far off when we will be able to send a robotically controlled genome-sequencing unit in a probe to other planets to read the DNA sequence of any alien microbe life that may be there.
I somewhat joke that I know an awful lot because I learn from my mistakes. I just make a lot of mistakes. It’s OK to fail in science just as long as you have the successes to go with the failures.
Most people don’t realize it, because they’re invisible, but microbes make up about a half of the Earth’s biomass, whereas all animals only make up about one one-thousandth of all the biomass.
Intellectual property is a key aspect for economic development.
I wrote an editorial piece in ‘Science’ about the nightly data release and how I thought it was bad for science as a field, I think a few years before Celera was formed.
Part of the problem with the discovery of the so-called breast-cancer genes was that physicians wrongly told women that had the genetic changes associated with the genes that they had a 99% chance of getting breast cancer. Turns out all women that have these genetic changes don’t get breast cancer.
I have a blend of klotho gene variants that have been linked with a lower risk for coronary artery disease and stroke and an advantage in longevity.
There’s a constant debate over nature or nurture – they’re inseparable.
One of the challenges with a government health system, like in the UK, with all of this data, is that you have a government making decisions on which treatments they’ll pay for and which ones they won’t. That’s a dangerous, dangerous, place to get into society.
When you do cross-breeding of plants, you’re doing this blind experiment where you’re just mixing DNA of different types of cells and just seeing what comes out of it.
I suppose if there’s a set of genes I have, it’s detesting authority.
I’ve made money by just trying to do world-class science. That’s the goal that we’re setting at Celera. If we do world-class science and create new medicine paradigms, the money will more than follow at a corporate level and at a personal level.
I am absolutely certain that life can exist in outer space, move around, find a new aqueous environment.
We’re a country of laws and rules, and the Supreme Court has ruled that life forms are patentable entities.
Right now, oil is being isolated around the globe, and there is a major effort in shipping, trucking and otherwise transporting that oil around to a very finite number of refineries. Biology allows us to make these same fuels in a much more distributed fashion.
I don’t see any absolute biological limit on human age.
I’ve gotten some pretty nice awards. I’m having trouble finding places to put them all.
Show me a highly successful person in any field that has gotten there having a weak ego. You have to believe in yourself, and you have to believe in what you’re doing.
San Francisco is one of my favorite cities on the planet.
The fact that I have a risk genetically for Alzheimer’s and blindness is not great news. But the reality is that any one of us will have dozens of these risks, and what we have to learn is how to deal with them.
People want to protect the territory that they have, and they’re very threatened by change. That’s not true for all of scientists, but you know, fortunately, the scientific community moves forward in a conservative fashion.
I don’t know if the optimists
or the pessimists are right.
But, the optimists are going to get something done.
or the pessimists are right.
But, the optimists are going to get something done.
Carole Lartigue led the effort to actually transplant a bacterial chromosome from one bacteria to another.