On May 20, 2010, headlines around the world announced one of the most extraordinary accomplishments in modern science: the creation of the world’s first synthetic lifeform. In Life at the Speed of Light, scientist J. Craig Venter, best known for sequencing the human genome, shares the dramatic account of how he led a team of researchers in this pioneering effort in synthetic genomics—and how that work will have a profound impact on our existence in the years to come. This is a fascinating and authoritative study that provides readers an opportunity to ponder afresh the age-old question “What is life?” at the dawn of a new era of biological engineering.
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.
What should we be worried about? That is the question John Brockman, publisher of Edge.org ("The world's smartest website"—The Guardian), posed to the planet's most influential minds. He asked them to disclose something that, for scientific reasons, worries them—particularly scenarios that aren't on the popular radar yet. Encompassing neuroscience, economics, philosophy, physics, psychology, biology, and more—here are 150 ideas that will revolutionize your understanding of the world.
Steven Pinker uncovers the real risk factors for war ● Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi peers into the coming virtual abyss ● Nobel laureate Frank Wilczek laments our squandered opportunities to prevent global catastrophe ● Seth Lloyd calculates the threat of a financial black hole ● Alison Gopnik on the loss of childhood ● Nassim Nicholas Taleb explains why firefighters understand risk far better than economic "experts" ● Matt Ridley on the alarming re-emergence of superstition ● Daniel C. Dennett and george dyson ponder the impact of a major breakdown of the Internet ● Jennifer Jacquet fears human-induced damage to the planet due to "the Anthropocebo Effect" ● Douglas Rushkoff fears humanity is losing its soul ● Nicholas Carr on the "patience deficit" ● Tim O'Reilly foresees a coming new Dark Age ● Scott Atran on the homogenization of human experience ● Sherry Turkle explores what's lost when kids are constantly connected ● Kevin Kelly outlines the looming "underpopulation bomb" ● Helen Fisher on the fate of men ● Lawrence Krauss dreads what we don't know about the universe ● Susan Blackmore on the loss of manual skills ● Kate Jeffery on the death of death ● plus J. Craig Venter, Daniel Goleman, Virginia Heffernan, Sam Harris, Brian Eno, Martin Rees, and more
Scientists’ understanding of life is progressing more rapidly than at any point in human history, from the extraordinary decoding of DNA to the controversial emergence of biotechnology. Featuring pioneering biologists, geneticists, physicists, and science writers, Life explains just how far we’ve come—and takes a brilliantly educated guess at where we’re heading.
Richard Dawkins and J. Craig Venter compare genes to digital information, and sketch the frontiers of genomic research.
Edward O. Wilson reveals what ants can teach us about building a superorganism—and, in turn, about how cells build an organism. Elsewhere, David Haig reports new findings on how mothers and fathers individually influence the human genome, while Kary Mullis covers cutting edge treatments for dangerous viruses. And there’s much more in this fascinating volume.
We may never have all the answers. But the thinkers collected in Life are asking questions that will keep us dreaming for generations.
Kevin Davies, founding editor of the leading journal in the field, Nature Genetics, has relentlessly followed the story as it unfolded, week by week, for ten years. Here for the first time, in rich human, scientific, and financial detail, is the dramatic story of one of the greatest scientific feats ever accomplished: the mapping of the human genome.
In 1990, the U.S. government approved a 15-year, $3 billion plan to launch the Human Genome Project, whose goal was to sequence the 3 billion letters of human DNA. At the helm of the project was James Watson, who resigned after only a couple of years, following a feud with National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Bernadine Healy over gene patenting. His successor was the brilliant young medical geneticist Francis Collins, who had made his name discovering the gene for cystic fibrosis. As Davies reports, Collins is a devout Christian who has traveled to Africa to work in a missionary hospital. He believes the human genome sequence is "the language of God." Just as Collins became project director, J. Craig Venter, a maverick DNA sequencer and Vietnam veteran, was leaving the NIH to start his own private research institute. Venter had developed a simple "shotgun" strategy for sequencing DNA, and his fame skyrocketed when his new institute proved his sequencing system worked by becoming the first to sequence the entire genome of a microorganism.
Only 3 percent of the human genome had been sequenced by early 1998, the public project's halfway point. That same year, Venter was approached by PE Corporation to launch a private human genome project. He stunned the world when he announced the formation of a new company to sequence the human genome in a mere three years for $300 million. A war of words broke out between public and private researchers. Undeterred, Venter built Celera Genomics with the motto "Speed matters. Discovery can't wait." and an $80 million supercomputer. While the insults intensified, Celera's stock price soared, tumbled, and soared again. Negotiations for cooperation between the public and private institutes began, only to fall apart in acrimony. Then in the spring of 2000 President Clinton stepped in, telling his science adviser to restart negotiations. History was about to be made.
Davies captures the drama of this momentous achievement, drawing on his own genetics expertise and interviews with key scientists including Venter and Collins, as well as Eric Lander, an MIT computer wizard who refers to the public genome project as "the forces of good"; Kari Stefánsson, the genetics entrepreneur who is remaking Iceland's economy; and John Sulston, chief of the UK genome project, who led the charge against gene patenting. Davies has visited geneticists around the world to illustrate a vast international enterprise working on the frontier of human knowledge. Cracking the Genome is the definitive account of how the code that holds the answers to the origin of life, the evolution of humanity, and the future of medicine was broken.
On May 10, 1998, biologist Craig Venter, director of the Institute for Genomic Research, announced that he was forming a private company that within three years would unravel the complete genetic code of human life—seven years before the projected finish of the U.S. government’s Human Genome Project. Venter hoped that by decoding the genome ahead of schedule, he would speed up the pace of biomedical research and save the lives of thousands of people. He also hoped to become very famous and very rich. Calling his company Celera (from the Latin for “speed”), he assembled a small group of scientists in an empty building in Rockville, Maryland, and set to work.
At the same time, the leaders of the government program, under the direction of Francis Collins, head of the National Human Genome Research Institute at the National Institutes of Health, began to mobilize an unexpectedly unified effort to beat Venter to the prize—knowledge that had the potential to revolutionize medicine and society.
The stage was set for one of the most thrilling—and important—dramas in the history of science. The Genome War is the definitive account of that drama—the race for the greatest prize biology has had to offer, told by a writer with exclusive access to Venter’s operation from start to finish. It is also the story of how one man’s ambition created a scientific Camelot where, for a moment, it seemed that the competing interests of pure science and commercial profit might be gloriously reconciled—and the national repercussions that resulted when that dream went awry.
From the Hardcover edition.
Contributors: Mark A. Bedau, Gaymon Bennett, Giovanni Boniolo, Carl Cranor, Bill Durodié, Mickey Gjerris, Brigitte Hantsche-Tangen, Christine Hauskeller, Andrew Hessel, Brian Johnson, George Khushf, Emily C. Parke, Alain Pottage, Paul Rabinow, Per Sandin, Joachim Schummer, Mark Triant, Laurie Zoloth
Award-winning journalist David Ewing Duncan tells the remarkable stories of cutting-edge bioscientists, revealing their quirky, uniquely fascinating, sometimes vaguely unsettling personas as a means to understand their science and the astonishing implications of their work. This book seamlessly combines myth, biography, scholarship, and wit that poses the all-important question: Can we actually trust these masterminds?
La ciencia de la genómica sintética tendrá un profundo impacto en la existencia humana, incluyendo la química y la generación de energía, la salud, el agua potable y la producción de alimentos, el control del medio ambiente, y, posiblemente, incluso nuestra propia evolución. En La vida a la velocidad de la luz, Venter presenta un estudio fascinante y autorizado de este campo emergente en el que detalla sus orígenes, sus desafíos y las controversias que lo envuelven, sin olvidar los efectos que tendrán sobre nuestras vidas.
Esta frontera científica ofrece una oportunidad para reflexionar de nuevo la vieja pregunta "¿Qué es la vida?” y examinar lo que realmente significa "jugar a ser Dios". La vida a la velocidad de la luz es una obra histórica, escrita por un visionario en el amanecer de una nueva era de la ingeniería genética.
This compilation makes it possible to obtain more information on the structure of membrane proteins, determining the structure in order to understand the function, and mechanism of action that is only understood by knowledge of the atomic structure. The gathering of data on the function of membrane proteins prior to knowledge of their structure is valuable for characterizing and defining the proteins. Once the structure is known, another stage of research will penetrate to the functional assignments of the structure.
Other topics covered include the physical methods for the structure-function relationship; identification and mapping of sites in membrane proteins; and primary structure of transport proteins. Tertiary structure and molecular shape of membrane proteins and structure-function relationship in membrane proteins are also examined.
This book is a good source of information for students and individuals conducting research on biochemistry, specifically on membrane proteins.
El distinguido bioquímico Nick Lane argumenta que la evolución de la vida multicelular –aquella que encontramos en hongos, plantas, animales y humanos– se originó a partir de un único evento. Apoyándose sobre los pilares de la teoría evolutiva, Lane examina el vínculo entre genes y energía, y sugiere una novedosa hipótesis sobre la relación entre la evolución celular y la vida a gran escala. Tan rigurosas como fascinantes, sus conclusiones no sólo explican el vasto ímpetu de la evolución, sino también proveen una perspectiva valiosa que amplía nuestro entendimiento del sexo, la especiación y la complejidad de la vida humana.
En La cuestión vital, Nick Lane replantea radicalmente la historia evolutiva, proponiendo una solución convincente a cuestiones que han preocupado a los científicos durante años.
Traduit de l'anglais par Bernard Sigaud
Das Telepolis-eBook, das auf teils online veröffentlichten Artikeln beruht, stellt die neue Forschungsrichtung und ihre bislang erzielten Erfolge ohne utopische Schwärmereien, wie sie gerne von den Vertretern der Forschung gemacht werden, aber auch ohne angsterzeugende Beschwörungen der möglichen Risiken, vor. Das Thema wird derzeit noch kaum in der Öffentlichkeit diskutiert, obgleich die Technik große Entwicklungspotenziale haben kann und eine Steuerung notwendig wäre. Bislang gibt es weder national noch global eine Kontrolle. Telepolis will die Diskussion mit diesem kurzem Überblick über die junge, vielversprechende Forschungsrichtung anregen.