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Founder, chairman, and CEO of J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI). Previously the founder and CEO of Celera Genomics, the company that galvanized the race to sequence the human genome from 1998-2001. Also founding president of The Institute of Genomics Research (TIGR) in 1993.

Venter and colleagues have made numerous contributions to the Human Genome Project and the field of genomics over 25 years. In 1991, his group at NIH developed the expressed sequence tag method. He became immersed in controversy over the patenting of these human gene fragments by NIH. He later founded The Institute of Genomic Research, where his group was the first to publish a bacterial genome sequence in 1995. In 1998, Venter announced the formation of Celera Genomics, which applied shotgun sequencing and massive computational horsepower to assemble the genome from five anonymous donors. Venter joined Francis Collins in marking the completion of the first draft on June 26, 2000. Venter resigned from Celera after the publication of the first draft in 2001.

Building on his Celera work, Venter was the first individual to report the complete sequence of his personal genome. And building on work performed at TIGR, Venter’s team was the first to transfect a cell with a synthetic microbial genome.

Venter is the founder of two other companies, Synthetic Genomics and Human Longevity Inc. He is also the author of two books on his research: A Life Decoded and Life at the Speed of Light: From the Double Helix to the Dawn of Digital Life.


Birth Date1946


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