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Human genome icon speaks at UD April 16

J. Craig Venter, a key player behind the successful mapping of the human genome
2:49 p.m., April 8, 2004--J. Craig Venter, a key player behind the successful mapping of the human genome, will receive an honorary degree from the University of Delaware and talk about his current research, at 2:30 p.m., Friday, April 16, in Mitchell Hall.

Venter, president of the Center for the Advancement of Genomics and former president and founder of Celera Genomics, was famed by his work that sped up the sequencing and analysis of the biochemical code in human genes. The historic result was achieved in 2000, years ahead of schedule.

Venter shared the accolades for the milestone with the National Human Genome Research Institute but he is credited for the ambitious approach that accelerated the project.

Venter’s accomplishments in decoding the genetic sequences of other organisms, particularly the fruit fly and mouse, also have provided important scientific insights, including a new understanding of the genetic relationship between species as well as human evolution.

The scientist was selected to receive the degree—the highest honor bestowed by the University—in recognition of his significant contribution to science.

Venter, who also is president of the Institute for Biological Energy Alternatives and the J. Craig Venter Science Foundation, received his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and doctorate in physiology and pharmacology from the University of California at San Diego.

A former Vietnam corpsman, Venter became professor of biochemistry at the State University of New York at Buffalo and the chief cancer research scientist at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute. He later worked as a researcher at the National Institutes of Health before he founded the Institute for Genomic Research Center for the Advancement of Genomics with his wife, Claire Fraser, in 1992.

Article by Martin Mbugua

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