Chemistry still struck particular fear in my heart. The subject was crucial for a career in medicine, and yet high school had left me allergic even to the thought of grappling with the world of atoms and molecules.Craig Venter
A Life Decoded: My Genome: My Life
Craig Venter almost ended his life by swimming out to sea off the coast of Viet Nam. He was a medic during the Tet offensive, when the Viet Cong and the NVA pushed over 80,000 soldiers south. He lost many lives, and chose to end his own.
A shark circling around him, like Jonah's great fish,changed his mind and he swam through miles of dark water back to the bloody shores of Nam.
Three decades later he would be instrumental in developing the human genome. This week Science announced that Venter has successfully placed an artificially made DNA molecule into an organism, and it replicated. If DNA is the soul of life, Venter is now God.
While I am a Luddite who fears powerful folks sashaying with hubris, I cannot help but wonder:
Which came closer to preventing Dr. Venter from venturing this far?
A near suicidal act to wash away the blood of hundreds of men he could not save? Or was it a high school science class that nearly killed an innate love of untangling the unknown?