A Life Decoded: My Genome: My Life by J. Craig Venter

By J. Craig Venter

The successful memoir of the fellow at the back of one of many maximum feats in clinical history

Of all of the medical achievements of the previous century, probably none can fit the interpreting of the human genetic code, either for its technical brilliance and for its implications for our destiny. In A existence Decoded, J. Craig Venter strains his upward push from an uninspired pupil to at least one of the main interesting and arguable figures in technology this present day. the following, Venter relates the remarkable drama of the search to decode the human genome?a objective he estimated he may perhaps in attaining years prior and extra affordably than the government-sponsored Human Genome venture, and person who he fulfilled in 2001. an exciting tale of detection, A existence Decoded can also be a revealing, and sometimes troubling, examine how technological know-how is practiced today.

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Nonetheless, dark t h o u g h t s c o n s u m e d m e during the two-hour motorcycle ride to Long Beach. At the base gate I was directed to the check-in office, which I anxiously approached. I handed my tattered envelope to the imposing figure behind the desk. T h e chief tore it open, examined m y orders, and scowled. " M y heart sank, and I began to panic. " H e briefly disappeared, then returned to chew me out and tell m e that I was to be dealt a severe punishment: I had to go to the transit barracks, where I would be confined for one week on cleaning detail.

Today's soccer m o m s schedule activities for every m i n u t e of a child's day. They give their kids mobile phones so they can stay in touch. Some even want to track their children using G P S , or keep an eye on t h e m from w o r k using a webcam. But half a century ago the life of the average kid was unstruc­ tured and often unobserved. I was lucky that liberty was a family tradition. As a child m y m o t h e r loved to climb barefoot on the cliffs in Ocean Beach near San Diego. M y father had grown up fly-fishing on the Snake River in Idaho and spent summers working on his uncle's W y o m i n g cattle ranch.

O n c e the engine was installed, I painted m y boat jet black with orange lightning bolts on its bow. I was surprised and pleased that m y father was proud to help me with the ultimate test. T h e hydroplane was hoisted o n t o the roof of his new 1957 Mercury station wagon, and the family drove to the har­ bor in Coyote Point, south of the airport. T h e r e was n o ramp into the bay or bottle of champagne to break on her bow. W e had to wade through the m u d to launch her. After flooding the engine, a result of nerves, I got it going and did several high-speed laps around the harbor, blinded by the spray from the bow.

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