Venter on his genome

Q: I’ve got
one cheeky question for you — what’s it like knowing your own genome
sequence? Is it something that you think about or go and check to see
if you’ve got one of the diseases that have been showing up in the

Venter: I don’t think that’s
so cheeky. I think people have so many confused views and fears over
genomics — it’s not what people anticipate that it is. Understanding
probability of statistics of what it means to have a 15 percent
increased risk of cardiovascular disease based on certain factors —
there are very few yes/no answers in the genetic code. You don’t look
at it and go, "Aha! Now that explains this quirky bit of my
personality" — that’s just not how it works. But I think that’s the lay
view, including among many scientists, of what it is. Even when I poll
medical school classes, roughly half of each medical school class
doesn’t want to know their own genetic code, they’re afraid to know,
it’s going to give them some defined principle of their lives they
don’t want to know about. And so I think we’re reading way, way too
much into what it gives you. To me, it’s a scientific curiosity, it’s a
point of analysis. I’m happy to have it on the Internet, because it
doesn’t provide what everyone, in their deep dark fears, fear that it
would provide. Or if it does, there is nobody out there yet that’s
smart enough to read it.

Q: So it’s not an invasion of your privacy?

Maybe someone will make a discovery and I’ll go, "Oh shit, I shouldn’t
have put it out there after all!" I can’t imagine what someone would
find reading my genetic code that they couldn’t already find on the
Internet anyway.

From this interview of Craig Venter by Melissa Trudinger at Bio-IT World


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