Intro to feature article in WIRED:
“Nine years ago, Craig Venter sequenced the first complete individual human genome – his own. Now, he’s finally starting to decode what it means for his future.
In early 2006, Craig Venter received a worrying email concerning his genome. Amid the six billion letters-long sequence of the A, T, C and G base pairs that constitute the vocabulary of DNA, geneticists at his private research institute had discovered a single, errant “C”. This mutation, called APOE 4, marked him for increased risk of cardiovascular disease, and a tripled likelihood of Alzheimer’s. The higher cardiovascular risk came as little surprise for someone with a family history of early heart-attack deaths. But the Alzheimer’s was unexpected.
In one sense, few people could have been better prepared. In addition to having an entire institute’s worth of geneticists on call, Venter is an undisputed pioneer in the field after leading his former company, Celera Genomics, in a fierce competition with the publicly funded Human Genome Project to produce the first complete human genome sequence. On June 26, 2000, in an uneasy truce that involved the intervention of then president Bill Clinton, the race was called as a tie.”