The Canonical Human

Somewhat old news, but I'd wondered about it, and I just found this:

I'm the human genome, says 'Darth Venter' of genetics

Craig Venter, the controversial geneticist who led private industry's decoding of the human genome, has revealed a startling secret. The genome - unravelled two years ago - is his. [...]

Both sides of the decoding project - an international, publicly funded arm, and a private industrial group led by Celera - said they had used DNA from anonymous donors. Celera said theirs was drawn from a pool of 20 donors from five ethnic groups. But now Venter has revealed he had overridden the process when he was head of the company, with the result that its genome was mostly based on his DNA.

So here's a plot element for all you aspiring scifi writer out there: in the future, Venter will be massively cloned, since his is the canonical test-case genome. You'll find random easter-egg Venter replicants all over the place, just like how the Utah Teapot has been showing up in raytraced images for the last 30 years.

It will suck to be "him."

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6 Responses:

  1. phreddiva says:

    I was sitting w/ Chris (the only son of Darth Venter) when his dad decided to inform him that 1/2 of his genetic code was now public domain. We decided it would have been nicer if his dad had told him before he told the New York Times.

  2. back when celera first announced their plan to complete the human genome, some media personality or other came up with the theory that craig was secretly mapping out his own genome for some sort of eugenics agenda. at the time, i was amused at the idea of a bald, overweight, nearsighted master race. now the question is was he just perfecting the process before using it to copy his dog for all eternity.

    • phreddiva says:

      Chris, you were -supposed- to respond with "my dad, he smokee the crack". Jeez.

    • zapevaj says:

      I dunno; Eva claims that the only way her brother (tall, blond, blue-eyed) can be explained is the fact that her parents are geneticists. Perhaps your father tried something similar to save you from the plight of looking like him?

  3. chromal says:

    Huh. This strikes me as unethical as an artificial insemination lab in which a lab technician uses his sperm as donor for every woman that comes through the place. Frankly, I hope they throw the book at him, or at least make him pay for the cost of resequencing the genome they way it was meant to be done. Talk about cuckoo's egg.

    • well all sci-fi story ideas aside, its not entirely him. i dont fully understand the math of it, but when celera mapped the genome they used 5 donors, and one of those donors would be mapped more than the others in order for the whole thing to work. since these 5 donors could be anyone, he figured he might as well be one of them. and as you may remember, there was a race going on between celera and the nih to be the first to complete the genome. so i believe that the nih version was mapped using 5 completely other people.

      and as for resequencing it the way it was supposed to be done, one of his latest projects is to speed up the process even further, so that mapping the complete genome of any person will take about an hour, or at the very least not 3 years. not to mention a good deal cheaper.