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Venter Captures Financial Audience's Imagination With Genomics Predictions

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NEW YORK--Craig Venter, president of Celera Genomics and founder of the Institute for Genomic Research, captivated an audience of investors and other members of the financial community with predictions about genomics industry developments at a meeting of the New York Venture Group here April 22. Venter told the Wall Street crowd that genomics will transform the agriculture, health, chemical, and energy industries and will become a major economic driving force of the next century.

Venter revealed his intent to sequence a variety of exotic microbial organisms: one that lives only in ice; another that is found in freshwater lakes, metabolizes uranium, and can survive being irradiated at levels up to 3 million rads; and another that returned to earth alive after clinging for two years to a camera stationed on the moon. Within the next decade, Venter said he expects to investigate samples from Mars.

Venter said Celera also intends to sequence the rice genome. Company spokesman Mike Knapp told BioInform the project will commence this fall, and that, while the company has the capacity to complete the sequence within six weeks, it remains to be decided if the project will be given priority to be completed that quickly.

With what is expected to be the second-largest super-computer ever built, Venter said Celera will create the world's largest database, containing data "in the 50 terabyte range."

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