Venter, Craig

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Venter, Craig

Craig Venter (John Craig Venter), 1946–, American biotechnologist and pioneering genome mapper, b. Salt Lake City, grad. Univ. of California, San Diego (B.A. 1972, Ph.D. 1975). Joining the National Institutes for Health in 1984, he subsequently developed a method for rapidly sequencing genomes (see genetics), known as shotgun sequencing. In 1992 he founded the Institute for Genomic Research (merged into the J. Craig Venter Institute in 2006), and subsequently sequenced (1995) the genome of the Haemophilus influenzae bacteria. From 1998 to 2002 he headed Celera Genomics, a company devoted to decoding and exploiting the human genome. Its scientists used Venter's method to sequence the human genome, competing with the Human Genome Project; both groups substantially completed that work in 2000. The first full (diploid) individual genome (Venter's) was released by Venter's research institute in 2007. In addition to genome sequencing, research at the Venter Institute has developed organisms with a transplanted genome and with a synthetic genome. Venter also is a cofounder of Synthetic Genomics (2005), a company focused on commercializing genetically engineered life forms, and of Human Longevity (2014), a company seeking insights into combating aging and disease through the study of genomes.

See his memoir (2007).

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