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A Conversation with J. Craig Venter, Ph.D.: Goals for Digitizing Life

Fri, 01/24/2014 - 10:10am
Mary Ann Liebert, Publishers

J. Craig Venter Courtesy of PLoS "Life is a DNA software system" says J. Craig Venter, PhD, and biology can be digitized, the information sent via the Internet, and viruses and other life forms recreated using the emerging tools of synthetic biology. Dr. Venter describes his vision for applying biological teleportation to send digitized biological information around the world and from Mars to Earth in an interview in Industrial Biotechnology, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, publishers. 

Dr. Venter, Founder, Chairman, and CEO of the J. Craig Venter Institute, and CEO of Synthetic Genomics, Inc. (La Jolla, CA), delivered the Plenary Lecture at the 2013 BIO Pacific Rim Summit, December 10th, in San Diego, CA, in which he described the recent successful application of digital biology and synthetic genomics technology for the rapid development of a vaccine against a meningitis type B virus that has caused outbreaks this year.

In "IB Interview: A Conversation with J. Craig Venter, PhD," Dr. Venter discusses the work leading up to his group's creation of the first synthetic genome and new life form, the role that synthetic biology will have in sustainable human development, his current interest and activities in space exploration and the search for extraterrestrial life, and his views on bioenergy, future technology development, and policy and funding needs to support R&D in industrial biotechnology. Following the interview are excerpts of Dr. Venter's Plenary Lecture.

"Synthetic biology is not just an evolutionary step in industrial biotechnology, it is a quantum leap, and there is no better person than Craig Venter to help us look over the horizon and anticipate the future path and benefits of that continuing evolution," says Brent Erickson, Consulting Editor of Industrial Biotechnology and Executive Vice President, Industrial & Environmental Section, Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), Washington, DC. "The biotech tools Dr. Venter and his industry colleagues are developing enable us to tackle problems that humankind has found intractable for centuries. That should inspire all of us in the industry."

Citation: A Conversation with J. Craig Venter, PhD Issue-Not available-, ahead of print. doi:10.1089/ind.2013.1616. Published Online Ahead of Print: January 20, 2014 The article is available on the Industrial Biotechnology Web site.

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