Craig Venter on the Hail Mary Genome and Synthetic Meat

The man who sequenced the human genome and created synthetic life explains the merits of fake meat and why Monsanto is good for farming
Venter grows algae in a greenhouse in SGI's headquarters in La Jolla, Calif. Photograph by Mark Peckmezian for Bloomberg Businessweek

Where are we in the hype cycle of synthetic biology?
My complaint is that there are more books and news articles than there are primary scientific papers. I am probably the biggest critic of the hypesters, because it’s dangerous when fields get overhyped. I was at a seminar last year. The guy speaking was not somebody who works in the field. It was all hype in how you design life forms and there are machines that build them automatically. And I got up and said—I really offended the guy—“Everything you’ve heard is bulls-‍-‍-.” Maybe some of that stuff will happen one day, but he gave the impression that’s where the field is now. We need more solid science.

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