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A Life Decoded: My Genome: My Life [Englisch] [Taschenbuch]

J. Craig Venter
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Kurzbeschreibung

30. September 2008
The triumphant memoir of the man behind one of the greatest feats in scientific history

Of all the scientific achievements of the past century, perhaps none can match the deciphering of the human genetic code, both for its technical brilliance and for its implications for our future. In A Life Decoded, J. Craig Venter traces his rise from an uninspired student to one of the most fascinating and controversial figures in science today. Here, Venter relates the unparalleled drama of the quest to decode the human genome?a goal he predicted he could achieve years earlier and more cheaply than the government-sponsored Human Genome Project, and one that he fulfilled in 2001. A thrilling story of detection, A Life Decoded is also a revealing, and often troubling, look at how science is practiced today.


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Produktinformation

  • Taschenbuch: 400 Seiten
  • Verlag: Penguin Books; Auflage: Reprint (30. September 2008)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0143114182
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143114185
  • Vom Hersteller empfohlenes Alter: Ab 18 Jahren
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 21,3 x 13,9 x 2,3 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 4.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (2 Kundenrezensionen)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 117.386 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

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Produktbeschreibungen

Pressestimmen

Maverick, publicity hound, risk-taker, brash, controversial, genius, manic, rebellious, visionary, audacious, arrogant, feisty, determined, provocative. His autobiography shows they are all justified (Nature )

An all-action autobiography (, Books Of The Year Financial Times )

Craig Venter has scorched a trail through genetics … A Life Decoded is a page-turner throughout (New Scientist )

The first genetic autobiography. It is also a cracking story (, Books Of The Year The Times )

The man who shook up the cosy world of scientific research … a brilliant book. Beautifully written, it is not only the most gripping but also the most important scientist's autobiography since James Watson's Double Helix (Sunday Telegraph )

Rebel, maverick, outsider and the Bono of genetics … the book is a voyage of discovery (Guardian )

May be as important a book as James D. Watson's Double Helix (, Books Of The Year Sunday Times )

Few scientists have stoked the flames of debate quite like Craig Venter … A blow-by-blow journey through a frankly astonishing career (Scotsman )

'This book marks the beginning of something new. It is the first molecular biography … Venter's account is never less than engaging' Sunday Times'A wonderfully original work … brims with entertaining revelations about the feuds, fights and friendships that underlie great research projects' Financial Times Magazine -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Taschenbuch .

Synopsis

In June 2000, for the first time in human history, scientists were able to unravel the mysteries contained within our genetic code. Craig Venter is the brilliant maverick who had made this happen. And since then, in 2006, he has gone on to decode the whole of his own genome, the first complete genome of any single human being. In "A Life Decoded" he tells his extraordinary life story from childhood, the young rebel running wild on the tracks, all the way through to the present day. It's a tale that includes Presidents, Prime Ministers and kings, princes of capitalism and science, but it is also a voyage of discovery through Venter's self-examination, his scientific accomplishments and his own genetic code. In life Craig Venter has pushed back the boundaries of the possible. "A Life Decoded" is the ultimate autobiography, asking us what we can ever really know of ourselves. -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.

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Einleitungssatz
Of all my early memories, the most vivid is my total and absolute freedom. Lesen Sie die erste Seite
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Kundenrezensionen

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4.0 von 5 Sternen
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen
3.0 von 5 Sternen Die Tatsache,... 14. Mai 2013
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
dass ich mehr als ein Jahr gebraucht habe, um das Buch zu beenden, spricht nicht gerade für gute Lesbarkeit und/oder interessanten Inhalt*; viel zu langatmig sind die Ausführungen zu einzelnen Details: wer hat wann was gemacht und warum, wer war dagegen, warum hat es dennoch geklappt...

Ein Co-Autor hätte dieser Biographie sehr gut bekommen. Einiges hätte gekürzt oder gleich ganz ausgelassen werden können. Anderes hätte überhaupt erwähnt werden müssen.

So gibt es nur drei Sterne -- und die auch nur mit einigem Wohlwollen. Aus dem Thema hätte viel mehr gemacht werden können, vor allem angesichts der Tatsache, dass der Autor EINER DER Vorreiter im 'Gene-Mapping' und über Jahrzehnte 'on the inside' ist.

* Die Aussage eines anderen Rezensenten: "One of the books you just can't put down before reading it completely." kann ich noch nicht mal im Ansatz nachvollziehen; dann hätte ich's ja spätestens in einer Woche durchgelesen.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Very unlike other biographies of scientists 16. November 2012
Von M. G.
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
I find this autobiography very atypical, unlike similar ones I read (from Crick, Varmus, Wilkins etc). It is written in a very blunt way (maybe similar to "Double helix" in style). Venter speaks a lot about life outside of the lab (for example, his Vietnam experience). Of course, the most interesting part for me was the story about the competition with NIH's human genome sequencing consortium. I have read previously "Genome wars", and Venter here provided more (probably factual) gossip. One of the books you just can't put down before reading it completely.
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Amazon.com: 4.4 von 5 Sternen  48 Rezensionen
135 von 136 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Bigger than life 27. Oktober 2007
Von Michael T Kennedy - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
Having read The Genome War, I had preordered Venter's own story. I was not disappointed. The Publisher's Weekly review sniffs that it is "clumsily written." I would attribute that opinion to one of two possibilities. Either the reviewer never got beyond the early chapters about his childhood, which are marred by cliche and some amateurish prose, or the reviewer does not know enough biology to understand the rest. Once past the early biography, the rest of the book is riveting. I would warn those considering it that a reasonable knowledge of biology and genetics is almost a requirement to enjoy the story. I teach medical students and have studied molecular biology (unknown when I was a medical student) and it taxed my knowledge to the limit to understand his accomplishments. Still, the book reminds me a bit of "Science Fictions," the account of the discovery of the AIDS virus, which pulled no punches in naming villains and fakers. Venter is settling a few scores but, having read the other book, I am inclined to accept his version of the story. Biology research is not beanbag, to paraphase an old aphorism, especially when the stakes are high. There are titanic egos in this story, not just that of the author. If you like biology and genetics and want to read about the biggest big game hunt in biological science history, this is a good place to start.

The best part of the story begins as he returns from Vietnam, a near failure in high school, now stimulated by his experiences as a corpsman to study and go to medical school. He has married a New Zealand girl he met on R&R in Australia. They both go to UCSD once they have mastered junior college. Here he becomes interested in biochemistry, then cell biology. He is the beneficiary of the interest of a noted cell biologist who likes his story and encourages him to do research. Eventually, this leads to a PhD only seven years after his return from the war. He goes on to a medical school faculty position, gradually building his research credentials until he is invited to join the NIH.

He tells the story of his research into the nature of the adrenaline receptor, the link that allows the hormone to stimulate the heart to beat faster and more powerfully. From there, he begins to study the genetics of the receptor. From there, he climbs the path to world fame and meets some nasty surprises in fellow scientists whose personal ambition cancels their devotion to science. I highly recommend this book to those with some background in biology and genetics. He tries to simplify for a broader audience but the subject is still complex. I read the book in two days, actually taking longer than I might with another non-fiction book because it requires concentration and some rereading to understand the details. The science, not the author, is the hero here and it takes some time to understand it all.
12 von 12 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Prickly and a bit technical, but fascinating nonetheless 3. Mai 2008
Von David J. Loftus - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
This is a memoir by the scientist whose team was the first to map the human genome - and handily beat the federal government at the task with less funding and time. Unfortunately, the latter half of the book is less about science than the politics and business around it. Not only do scientists at Venter's level have to cozy up to venture capitalists, Congresspersons, and Presidents (and get courted and used by them in turn), but there's a lot of self-promotion and jockeying for position between and among colleagues.

Venter doesn't sound particularly bitter about petty, two-faced, and undermining peers (there are plenty) and their apparently dishonorable behavior, but he clearly gets back his own with this book. Thus, the greatest scientific achievement of Venter's life reads less compellingly than the more quotidian aspects of his earlier life and career: playing chicken with trains as a kid, racing jets with a bicycle as they lifted off from San Francisco Airport, and the lessons of the "University of Death" that was Vietnam, where Venter served as a medic at Da Nang navy hospital.

Venter's descriptions of the science he pursues assume a fair amount of knowledge on the part of the reader, and may be tough for the lay reader to follow, but are always thankfully short. Sailors may enjoy the accounts of his escapes to the ocean, handily winning a trans-Atlantic race and fighting a storm in the Bermuda Triangle. One of the stronger features of the book are boxes set off from the narrative that describe various details of Venter's own genetic code in relation to the latest findings about inheritance, disease, and how genes express themselves in our bodies and lives.

Others discuss possible genetic links to long life, cancerous tumors, blindness, depression, eye color, Alzheimers, diabetes, thrill seeking, irregular heartbeat, fatness, cardiac vulnerability to caffeine, asthma, addictions, and circadian rhythms. Even if such knowledge doesn't lead to cures, identifying markers in one's genes could certainly guide preventive nutrition and medical practices.

The greatest lesson of Venter's memoir involves the complex dance between chance and will. He escaped death repeatedly and seized opportunities as often through forces beyond his control as by choice. For him, the old nature vs. nurture debate is so beside the point it is hardly worth acknowledging: "An organism's environment is ultimately as unique as its genetic code."
11 von 11 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen What you get when you turn a bright kid loose to play 21. Februar 2008
Von Dick Marti - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Someone suggested skipping the early chapters in which Venter describes his childhood. That would be a mistake. In contrast to the current day in which parents rigidly structure the free time and play activites of their children, Venter was told in his 1950s childhood to "Go play!". That, plus his high IQ, were a formula for either failure or success on a large scale. Venter succeeded in a grand way that has transformed biology. And he did it in spite of obstacles placed in his way from unexpected, and disappointing, quarters. What, for example, should one make of James Watson and Francis Collins, who could have improved their own images immeasurable by acting for the best of the science, rather than for what was best for themselves? "What's in it for me?" seems to be a common whine heard from many of those working for Venter as well as against him. What he accomplished was a marvelous achievement, made even larger by the fact that he had so much opposition, personal, political, scientific. While this may not be high literature, it is a scientific adventure story of a high order. Read it, and be sure that your children have freedom to play and be creative.
37 von 45 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen An Ego Decoded 17. Januar 2008
Von DF - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Knowing Craig and having had worked at Celera, I was eager to learn more of the details of Craig's early career which I knew only in general strokes. However, also knowing Craig, I was also inclined to take his portrayal with a grain of salt. In this spirit, I would strongly recommend this book as a gripping tale of remarkable success, intrigue, and adventure, as told through the eyes of one of the greatest egomaniacs ever.

The book does wander a bit through Craig's earliest years and the strongest material coincides with the formation of TIGR, Celera, and the JCVI. I can vouch for many of the stories and perspectives from the Celera years, having heard, directly or indirectly, of the events at the time. The interludes about Craig's genome are fascinating, and the science is presented with enough explanation and metaphor that it should be easy to grasp for the non-expert.

However, as much as Craig "sets the record straight", or grinds axes depending on your perspective, his ego tinges the entire book and regrettably diminishes its credibility. It's simply hard to believe a man, who in his own account, was always right, never showed a shred of self-doubt, and never made a mistake beyond trusting the incompetents and villains surrounding him.

Craig also spends his time railing against commercial science and business people, claiming that he never had any aspirations to make money---although he made plenty---and feuded constantly with those that did. Although this seems superficially noble, it does make we wonder at his motives to request tens and hundreds of millions of dollars from venture capitalists if he truly never intended to repay those investments. In his eagerness to please the scientific establishment with his piety, he seems never to consider the opposing viewpoint of his business "partners" nearly as seriously as he delves into the opposing scientists.

All in all, this is an entertaining book for those interested in genomics and/or the politics of big science. Its flaws arise mainly in Craig's tiresome, endless self-congratulations, which in my opinion rise to the level where they undermine the credibility of the story.
12 von 14 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A UK View 4. Januar 2008
Von Mr Micawber - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Venter is known as a controversial figure in UK where I live. He became known for trying to make a fortune out of patenting genes. So I wanted to read this book to see just what Venter had to say. It was truly a revelation. The first fifty pages had enough excitement curiosity and adventure for a complete life story. But this is the story of a high school dropout and surfer traumatised by Vietnam war experience becoming a world leading scientist. In fact all his post-war effort has been put into furthering science and medicine to try to understand and enhance life in all forms. The entrepreneurial effort was purely to further scientific discovery rather than a money grubbing exercise widely portrayed. The vindictiveness and double dealing of business and scientific colleagues were but obstacles to overcome in reaching successive goals. After reading the book and seeing his continuing program one is inspired. Controversial is a total misnomer. The UK scientific community and the even BBC do not come out well. It should be read by all aspiring scientists to prepare them for the pitfalls of being a pioneer thinking outside the box. It is not an exaggeration to compare him to Einstein. Apart from that it is a ripping good story with many fascinating scientific facts relating Venter's genome to his life story.
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