Researcher to discuss genetics of the ocean
Human genome researcher J. Craig Venter, who is beginning some work with Hawaii scientists to study the ocean's genetic makeup, will give a public lecture at 7 p.m. tomorrow in the University of Hawaii-Manoa Campus Center Ballroom.
Venter will discuss "The Ocean Genome: A Key to Earth's Habitability." He also will give a seminar on "Genomes, Medicine and the Environment" from 3 to 5:30 p.m. today on the third floor of the UH medical education building.
His talk on the ocean genome fits with a new Center for Microbial Oceanography, Research and Education established at UH last fall, said David Karl, UH oceanography professor and principal investigator at the center.
He said the new center, funded by the National Science Foundation to study the oceans' microscopic life, has begun some collaboration with Venter.
Karl was one of 11 scientists on an advisory panel for a global expedition by Venter in 2004 to sample ocean microbes. Venter's researchers identified more than 1.2 million new genes in water samples of microbial populations using his "shotgun sequencing" technique.
Regarded as one of the leading scientists of the 21st century, Venter is founder, chairman and chief executive officer of the nonprofit J. Craig Venter Institute. He established the organization in 2004 to consolidate the Institute for Genomic Research, which he founded in 1992, and the Center for the Advancement of Genomics.
The institute focuses on microbial, plant and environmental genomic research programs, exploration of social and ethical issues in genomics, and alternative energy solutions.
Venter developed a revolutionary strategy for rapid gene discovery at the National Institutes of Health in 1984, and he and his team at the Institute for Genomic Research decoded the genome of the first free-living organism and more than 50 other genomes.
He founded Celera Genomics in 1998 to sequence the human genome, which was completed and published in the journal Science in February 2001.
He and fellow researchers at Venter Institute have recently published papers on environmental genomics, synthetic genomics and the sequence and analysis of the dog genome.
He is author of more than 200 research articles and has received many awards and honors. He was one of the first 38 people selected by Desmond Tutu in 2004 as part of his "Hands That Shape Humanity" world exhibition.
His public lecture here is part of a Distinguished Lecture Series at UH.