Craig Venter’s DNA Star Tarnished

Craig Venter’s DNA Star Tarnished

by Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei
Posted July 16, 2007 in DNA Podcasts and Videos, Personalities with DNA

Genome War bookWhat pops into your head when you think of J. Craig Venter? Did you know he is one of the best known scientists and frontmen of the genome revolution? Unfortunately, he’s experiencing a bit of bad press lately.

In the latest issue of Forbes, Matthew Herper focuses on Venter for Hype in The Genes, saying Venter aims “impossibly high” and calling him the “Bono of genetics.” Venter is also said to “warp the reality field around genetic research through sheer force of ego and showmanship.” Herper goes on to detail the very many relationships that have soured for Venter, including his own marriage to Claire Fraser-Leggitt. Basically, everybody hates him.

Have you ever met J. Craig Venter or seen him in person? What’s he like?

More about J. Craig Venter:

  • A profile of Svante Paabo by J. Craig Venter written for The Time 100 Scientists & Thinkers.
  • A profile of Venter himself by Jean-Michel Cousteau for the same Time 100 special feature.
  • More about Craig Venter in The Genome War by James Shreeve.
  • Craig Venter’s memoirs–A Life Decoded: My Genome: My Life–will be released in October.
  • Craig Venter’s answer to The Edge World Question Center’s question of the year in 2006 – What is your dangerous idea?:

    “Revealing the genetic basis of personality and behavior will create societal conflicts.”

  • A video of Craig Venter on The Colbert Show.

HT: Blaine

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Related Posts:
More on Dr. J. Craig Venter’s Fabulous Genome...
The Genographic Project’s Dr. Spencer Wells on Colbert Report...
The Rough Guide to Genes & Cloning...
Craig Venter on the Sinfest Forum...
Geeky DNA T-Shirt: Christmas Star DNA...
DNA Video: Craig Venter on the Charlie Rose Show...
DNA Video: Craig Venter at Google...

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Comment by David Bradley

The Bono of genetics? Does that mean he’ll be getting the Pope’s cell phone number and prancing around with world leaders and Paul Mcartney calling for an end to genetic disease…?


Comment by Hsien

I am sure he wouldn’t mind if he did. :)

Comment by ramunas

Hm, i think Craig is better known as a businesman, and not very honest one – just remember human genome project rush and lot of mistakes in Celera’s shotgut draft. Politics. egos, money, fame – science does not work in a social vacuum. Remember, when Venter disclosed in 2001 that HIS OWN DNA was used for Celera’s sequencing project? GOT DNA? :)

Comment by Hsien

And who says science isn’t sexy and full of intrigue?


[...] of genetic scientists, including Kary Mullis (the inventor of the polymerase chain reaction- PCR), Craig Venter, and James [...]

Comment by c.doggrell Subscribed to comments via email

Yes, I have met him personally years and years ago. The speed at which he completed his work was amazing.

He was and is a visionary, as for a team player?…well we all can’t be quarterbacks. Despite his vanity, one must give him credit for many many accomplishments.

Hi c. doggrell, Thanks for the comment. I think one of the big differences between stars like Craig Venter and mere mortals is probably their tremendous energy level. And I don’t mind arrogance and vanity so much as long as it’s not aimed at me! ;)


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