Neurophilosophy

Does Craig Venter deserve a Nobel Prize?

And is James Watson in the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease?

In this review of Craig Venter’s autobiography A Life Decoded and James Watson’s Avoid Boring People, Financial Times science editor Clive Cookson says that Venter’s Nobel Prize prize is overdue, perhaps because of “the outdated bad-boy image he retains among some sections of the scientific establishment”.

Venter and Watson were the first two people to have their personal genomes sequenced. Venter’s genome was published last month in the open access journal PLoS Biology, and Watson’s genome is available at the CSHL website.

In his essay, Cookson notes that Venter’s book reveals that he has one copy of the ApoE4 allele, which makes him genetically predisposed to both Alzheimer’s and heart disease, but that details of the same gene are the only thing about his genome that Watson has not made publicly available.

So perhaps there’s a good reason for Watson’s senility after all.

Update: Carl Zimmer interviews Craig Venter on bloggingheads.tv