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J. Craig Venter

Autor(a) de A Life Decoded

9+ Works 506 Membros 10 Reviews

About the Author

J. Craig Venter is the founder and president of the J. Craig Venter Institute.

Includes the name: Craig Venter

Obras de J. Craig Venter

Associated Works

This Will Make You Smarter: New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking (2012) — Contribuinte — 807 cópias, 17 resenhas
What Is Your Dangerous Idea? Today's Leading Thinkers on the Unthinkable (1914) — Contribuinte — 632 cópias, 8 resenhas
Alien Planet [2005 TV movie] (2005) — Self — 12 cópias, 1 resenha
Forbes: How to Cheat Death February 28, 2017 (2017) — Contribuinte — 1 exemplar(es)


Conhecimento Comum



This is actually a review of the Blinkist summary of the book.....so maybe slightly unfair to Venter (Did he actually take the time to write the book? Or was there a ghost-writer?). Much of the content ..such as the history of DNA and Schrodinger's "What is life" were familiar to me. I guess the main new thing for e was the idea of being able to teleport the code to Mars (or anywhere else) and re-assemble the molecules there. For example, producing a new antibiotic on a Mars Colony. Though it does assume the you will have all the gear there to do this.
For me, the book was interesting but not an essential read so i will probably not indulge by reading the full text.
But here are a few nuggets from the summary (ie a summary of the summary).
The study of biology asks one profound, powerful question: “What is life?”
Schrödinger was one of the first thinkers to suggest that everything that happens in a cell
German chemist Friedrich Wöhler.....chemically synthesized urea, the primary component of urine.....the first product that was normally only produced by living creatures.....it created a stir.
But the question of whether we can produce life artificially is no longer as pressing as it once was. Today, the question is whether we should. Plenty of people fear the potential dangers involved in “playing god.”
Today, the fields of chemistry, biology and computing have come together to give rise to modern genomics and genetic science.
In the 1970s, gene splicing made a huge leap forward. While early experiments involved only simple viruses, scientists in 1972 performed the first gene splice using more complex bacteria.
As DNA is the code of life, RNA is its delivery boy, transporting code from DNA to the ribosomes, or the cellular protein factories that put amino acids into the correct order to produce proteins.
the author founded The Institute for Genomic Research, the world’s biggest DNA-sequencing laboratory.
For the experiment, the team chose a “simple” virus called Phi X 174. This virus infects bacteria, and is called a bacteriophage. Phi X 174 had been used in various experiments for more than 40 years, and so was well-known in the genetics community. Phi X 174’s simple structure (with only 11 genes) resulted in the virus being the first to be genetically sequenced, as well as the first to have its genome copied. All this made Phi X 174 a perfect candidate virus for the team’s attempts to synthesize a complete chromosome.
In a mere two weeks, the team was able to prove that synthetic DNA, chemically built from computer code, contained the information necessary to produce a virus!
would it be possible then to synthesize a much more complicated
The team sought out the tiniest-known genome that is part of a living, self-replicating cell, called Mycoplasma genitalium. This tiny bacterium causes urinary tract infections in humans.
After painstakingly examining the DNA sequence and identifying the team’s watermark, they announced the successful, synthetic production of a bacterial genome.
The team abandoned M. genitalium in favor of a newly acquired synthetic genome from M. mycoides. This rapidly reproducing bacterium allowed them to review results within days.
However, things didn’t go as planned. With DNA sequencing, even the smallest errors can be fatal.
A closer look revealed the culprit: a miniscule, one-letter deletion in the base pair DNA sequencing. This seemingly small mistake threw off everything that followed it.
The team caught the error and corrected the sequence. The subsequent transplants went off without a hitch, and made genetics history in the process: the first living, self-replicating species to have a computer for a parent!
getting people to agree on what constitutes “life” is no easy task.
Technological advances have enabled homemade versions of lab tools, and open-source information might make it possible for nearly anybody to mess with the “software” of life. For example, bioterrorists could learn to produce potentially lethal germs, such as the bacteria that causes the bubonic plague, which killed tens of millions of people in the Middle Ages.
Building on their work using computer code to generate living organisms, the author’s team has been exploring ways to turn genetic information into electromagnetic waves capable of traveling great distances.
For instance, you could teleport the DNA of the Martian bacteria to a lab on earth, where scientists could devise and then teleport back an antibiotic.
But soon we may have robotically controlled genome sequencers that can read the DNA of any microbe and send the information straight back to laboratories on earth,
Modern biology has discovered life’s secrets, and they’re found in our DNA. Geneticists have in recent years unlocked the tools to manipulate, copy and even digitize genetic code, thereby opening up futuristic possibilities, such as transmitting DNA online or teleporting genetic code from Mars.
So, intgeresting but not essential reading for me. three stars from me.
… (mais)
booktsunami | outras 2 resenhas | Jun 17, 2024 |
Read all my reviews on http://urlphantomhive.booklikes.com

As a master student in Biomedical Sciences I'd heard about J. Craig Ventor (and especially his contributions to sequencing the human genome) multiple times in class. So, when I saw this book coming up I was immediately interested.

I somehow had always thought that he would be able to communicate about his science in a very interesting and understandable way. I don't know why I had this believe, but this book disappointed me a bit on that account. I was looking for a book that would be a nice way to introduce people with little or no knowledge about but a huge interest in molecular biology to the subject, but I don't think this book would be right for them. It's at once - I believe - far too specialistic for laymen and too simplistic for the people who do know about it.

It was however, for me, still interesting as synthetic biology is a subject I haven't really learned a lot about. About halfway I did start to get a bit annoyed as it became more and more of an 'Oh, look at me and my team we're so amazing' story as he sums up all his successes and publications in Science. The last chapters were a bit weird as he jumps from synthetic biology to teleportation. Not as good as I anticipated but still enjoyable for people with some background information on (molecular) biology...

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
… (mais)
Floratina | outras 2 resenhas | May 26, 2016 |
I only got through half of this due to time constraints, but its a great book. His life is much more interesting than I thought it was going to be, but towards the middle, the story runs into a bit of a thick patch - it becomes too scientific and business-like, and the magic of the early narrative (his ability to use his experiences and weave them into a picture of self-discovery and life lessons runs out around this time... coincidentally, this is also the part that I stopped reading).

He's had an exemplary (and rather controversial) career, so this one is definitely worth a read, especially for anyone thinking about going into research.… (mais)
meowism | outras 6 resenhas | May 17, 2016 |
First I must say that Venter is rather full of himself which definitely comes through in this book. He thinks of himself as a champion of pure science but he also doesn't like losing. However, the story he has to tell about sequencing the human genome is fascinating, full of details about the science, the feuds between the various groups involved, and something about why the science was so important. If one can get through the first parts covering his early years and his service in Vietnam without totally losing patience, Venter's account of his life in research becomes a lot more interesting. It is quite detailed however and the reader new to genetics and laboratory research in biochemistry and genomics will find some sections hard to follow. Also the infighting and political aspects of the struggle to break new ground in these fields may surprise some readers. Note that several of the LT recommendations that come up for A Life Decoded were written by Venter's competitors in the "race" to sequence the human genome. It might be interesting to compare them.… (mais)
hailelib | outras 6 resenhas | May 14, 2014 |



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