AP Biology Scientist


John Craig Venter birth date

October 14, 1946

-Born in Salt Lake City, Utah
-Mormon Parents
-He didn't do very well grade-wise in school

Vietnam War

Approx. 1965

-Tried to commit suicide while he was in the Vietnam war. He changed his mind after swimming more than a mile and seeing a group of sharks
-He became interested in science after seeing so many wounded and dying marine animals while he was in the navy

BS in biochemistry


-received degree from University of California, San Diego

PhD in physiology and pharmacology


-degree also from USCD

Employed by NIH

Approx. 1980

-Became an employee at the National institute of health and where he identified the mRNA strands in a cell so that he could use it to see what genes are expressed in the human brain.
-The CDNA fragments which are discovered by this method are called expressed sequence tags.
-The NIH wanted to patent their findings, but the abandoned their effort after public outcry.

Work on the Human Genome Project

Approx. 2000

-Venter was passionate about genetics, he wanted to use a method called shotgun sequencing instead of a slower method use by the Human Genome Project, but those in the Public Genome Project thought that shotgun sequencing wasn't reliable enough.
-He began to work with a company called Celera.
-They wanted to release the genome to the public.
-Although they were projected to finish 3 years before the public genome project, they ended up publishing their results a day after the Public Genome Project.

Received award for "Biography of the Year" from A&E Network

Approx. 2003

Work on Global Ocean Sampling Expedition

Approx. 2004

-Assesses genetic diversity in marine microbial communities

Fired from Celera

Approx. 2004

-Venter was fired by Celera due to some conflict with the Main Investor.
-He was upset when he couldn't find funding in the public sector so he then had to look to the corporate world.

President of J. Craig Venter Insitute

2005 - Present

Cofounded Synthetic Genomics


-Synthetic Genomics wants to use microorganisms to produce clean fuel and biochemicals
-Venter is seeking to patent the first partially synthetic species possibly to be named Mycoplasma laboratorium. There is speculation that this line of research could lead to producing bacteria that have been engineered to perform specific reactions, for example, produce fuels, make medicines, combat global warming etc
-Made synthetic genome with fewest genes of any living organisms, stripped away non essential genes which is a valuable tool for researchers