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Venter claims human genome is 'his own'

29 April 2002
By BioNews
Appeared in BioNews 155

Craig Venter, the scientist who led the biotechnology company Celera Genomics in its attempt to sequence the human genome, has announced that the genetic data used was largely his own.

At the time, it was said that the genetic data used came from anonymous donors, and the sequence presented was a 'universal' picture of the genetic make-up of humans. Some Celera scientists have reacted with dismay, saying he subverted agreements that had been made about anonymity.

Venter claims that his reason for the use of his own DNA, which, to a certain extent, is now publicly available to view, was personal medical curiosity: 'How could one not want to know about one's own genome?', he said. He noticed that he had inherited the gene apo-E4, which has been associated both with fat metabolism problems and Alzheimer's disease, and has begun to take drugs to lower his fat levels as a result.

Dr John Sulston, former leader of the UK's Sanger Centre and co-ordinator of the publicly-funded Human Genome Project, is one of a number of scientists who have said that the revelation is of little significance, but others say they are disappointed that anonymity of the genetic donors was not maintained.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Genome map used executive's DNA
MSNBC |  27 April 2002
I'm the human genome, says 'Darth Venter' of genetics
The Observer |  28 April 2002
Scientist confirms use of own DNA in project
The Washington Post |  28 April 2002
Scientist reveals genome secret: it's him
The New York Times |  27 April 2002
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