[QODLink]
The Frost Interview

Craig Venter: 'The software of life'

Sir David Frost meets the scientist who first sequenced the human genome and went on to create artificial life.

Last Modified: 22 Dec 2012 16:58
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

When Craig Venter announced in 2000 that he had mapped the human genome - the genetic material that uniquely identifies each individual - it was the sort of blockbuster announcement that comes once in a generation, and it established Venter as one of the most influential scientists on the planet.

"For the first time now we can actually design life in a computer, make the DNA software and create new life forms that have never existed before."

- Craig Venter

Since then, in addition to further research on the genome, Venter has sailed the world, exploring new life forms and applying this knowledge to another pursuit heretofore dreamed of only in science fiction: the creation of life itself in a laboratory, which he accomplished in 2010.

Venter has also been tackling the problem of climate change by inventing new methods of carbon collection and alternative energy sources, particularly by growing new forms of algae that not only grab carbon from the atmosphere but can themselves be used to produce oil for fuel.

Sir David Frost visits Venter in his laboratory near San Diego, California, where he learns that Craig began his adult life as an indifferent student turned beach bum before enlisting in the US navy at the height of the Vietnam War, where he worked in the intensive care ward of a field hospital.

Venter takes Sir David for a drive in his all-electric Tesla car, and tells of such encounters as the time he informed Bill Clinton that the former US president was, genetically-speaking, three percent Neanderthal.


The Frost Interview can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Friday: 2000; Saturday: 1200; Sunday: 0100; Monday: 0600.

Click here for more The Frost Interview

 

395

Source:
Al Jazeera
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
The conservative UMP party suffers from crippling internal divisions and extreme debt from mismanagement.
More than fifty years of an armed struggle for independence from Spain might be coming to an end in the Basque Country.
After the shooting-down of flight MH17, relatives ask what the carrier has learned from still-missing MH370.
Human rights and corporate responsibility prompt a US church to divest from companies doing business with Israel.
Afghan militias have accumulated a lengthy record of human-rights abuses, including murders and rapes.
join our mailing list