FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
J. Craig Venter, Ph.D. Receives Double Helix Medal from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Venter Shares Award with James D. Watson, Marilyn & James Simons and Sherry Lansing at Gala New York City Event
ROCKVILLE, MD — November 12, 2008 — J. Craig Venter, Ph.D., Founder and President of the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI), was awarded the Double Helix Medal from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) on November 6th at a gala event in New York City.
Dr. Venter received the Double Helix Medal along with Dr. James D. Watson for making each of their individual genome sequences available for scientific use on the Internet and for promoting awareness of the public health advantages of "personalized genomes."
According to Dr. Bruce Stillman, CSHL President, "The Double Helix Medals recognize individuals who have dedicated their lives to raising the awareness of the importance of genetics research for improving the health of people everywhere." Inaugurated in 2006, the medal is named for the iconic "winding-staircase" structure of the DNA molecule, discovered by Dr. Watson along with Dr. Francis Crick in 1953.
In 2007 Dr. Venter and his team published the first diploid genome, which was his genome and represents both sets of chromosomes inherited from each of his parents. That publication was the first human genome publication since the first sequence and analysis of the human genome published in Science in 2001 by Dr. Venter and colleagues at Celera Genomics. The publicly funded genome project also published their version of the human genome at the same time in the journal Nature.
Dr. Venter and his team are continuing to analyze his genome and are planning to sequence and analyze hundreds to thousands of genomes over the next decade. He has advocated the public release of individual genomes with the view that a growing database in which scientists can compare DNA profiles with health histories and traits will help them understand in greater detail the impact of genetics upon human health. Dr. Venter and his teams have published the sequences of more than 50 genomes, and through the Sorcerer II Expedition have more added more than 20 million new genes to the public databases.
Dr. Watson is Chancellor Emeritus of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and won a Nobel Prize along with Francis Crick in 1962 for their description of the structure of DNA. Dr. Watson is credited for developing the modern vision for Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
About the J. Craig Venter Institute
The JCVI is a not-for-profit research institute in Rockville, MD and La Jolla, CA dedicated to the advancement of the science of genomics; the understanding of its implications for society; and communication of those results to the scientific community, the public, and policymakers. Founded by J. Craig Venter, Ph.D., the JCVI is home to approximately 400 scientists and staff with expertise in human and evolutionary biology, genetics, bioinformatics/informatics, information technology, high-throughput DNA sequencing, genomic and environmental policy research, and public education in science and science policy. The legacy organizations of the JCVI are: The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR), The Center for the Advancement of Genomics (TCAG), the Institute for Biological Energy Alternatives (IBEA), the Joint Technology Center (JTC), and the J. Craig Venter Science Foundation. The JCVI is a 501 (c) (3) organization. For additional information, please visit http://www.JCVI.org.