Craig Venter, whose team mapped the human genome, predicts breakthroughs like vastly deeper understanding of disease and creating species. But computing power and speed is a constraint. The greatest demand for computing resources will come from biology and medicine as researchers start to use the growing knowledge of genetics to predict and prevent illnesses–and even to create new species from scratch, predicts genetics pioneer J. Craig Venter. Venter, who led the effort that mapped the human genome at Celera Genomics, spoke Sunday at the InformationWeek Spring Conference in Amelia Island, Fla. Venter described a future in which we have tens of millions of individuals who have their genetic makeup mapped, and medical professionals analyze that information against medical histories in order to better understand what genetic factors cause disease. ‘This is going to happen certainly in your lifetime, and possibly in the next 10 years,’ says Venter, who’s now president of the J. Craig Venter Institute, which does basic research to advance genomics science. ‘It’s totally dependent on the technology.’ Venter offered colon cancer as a reason why that knowledge could be useful. Colon cancer has a 90% survival rate if caught well before symptoms appear. […]

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