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Riz Khan
The Book of Life
Riz talks to scientist Craig Venter about his revolutionary new genome project.
Last Modified: 11 Sep 2007 15:35 GMT

Craig Venter

In the 1990s, Craig Venter led the race to map the human genome, the sequence of genes that govern the makeup of every cell of our bodies.

After completing his original project in 2000 he donated his own DNA for a new project: unveiling the six-billion-letter genome of a single individual.

That achievement was reached last week, when Venter's institute, the J Craig Venter Institute, announced that it had completed its work to decode Venter's genome.

Although it will take decades to unravel the secrets of the human genome, scientists say the new breakthroughs will help them predict who is prone to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, mental illnesses, and everything else that afflicts us.

They also are working on medicines tailored to work according to each body's DNA – medicines that will make today's cures seem prehistoric.  

Not one to shy from scientific and political battles, Venter promises to work on projects to manipulate DNA, and to find new alternative sources of energy.  

This episode of Riz Khan aired on Monday 10th September 2007.

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