Venter's quest

On the subject of Craig Venter, I ran across this old interview from Bio-IT World magazine. It's pretty useful for a short first-hand account of his side of the genome sequencing controversies.

Here's an excerpt:

Q: You divulged earlier this year that your DNA was one of the samples used in Celera's genome assembly. Why did you reveal that? It seemed to upset a few people ...
A: It does seem to have done that. But it was actually a very complicated decision. The number one thing I hear in conversation ... is that people are afraid that their genetic code will be used against them. To me, there are two types of leadership. In Vietnam (Venter served as a Navy corpsman during the Tet offensive in 1968), there were the leaders that pushed the small guy out in front to be the point man to step on the booby traps and get shot first. And there are the leaders who actually led and got people to follow them. I've never been one to push people out in front of me to get shot first.
I was a donor out of just absolute scientific curiosity. My view is, how can anybody possibly work in this field and not want to know their genetic code? Something's wrong with them! I mean what the hell are they doing? It's the ultimate dishonesty. They're advocating other people should do this. 'We're going to interpret your life but boy, stay away from mine?' I'm not shy about that. I wanted to know my own genetic code to understand my own life. I'm writing a book about that.
Q: Did you identify genes that showed you're predisposed to certain diseases? Did you go that far?
A: Yes. In fact, some of the people at Celera have shown slides at public meetings. They were showing some of my disease genes.

A bit of counterpoint to all the people who wouldn't pay the price of a CD for their genomes. This man developed a whole science to do it.