J. Craig Venter is an American biologist and businessman and the former president and founder of Celera Genomics. After working as a professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo, he joined the National Institutes of Health in 1984. While at NIH, Venter learned of a technique for rapidly identifying all of the mRNAs present in a cell, and began to use it to identify human brain genes.
Venter is the former president and founder of Celera Genomics, which became famous for running a parallel version of the Human Genome Project of its own for commercial purposes, using shotgun sequencing technology in 1999. The aim of the Celera project was to create a database of genomic data that users could subscribe to for a fee. DNA from five individuals was used by Celera to generate the sequence of the human genome; one of the five individuals used in this project was Venter. The Human Genome Project, which was composed of many groups from around the world, rendered the attempt to privatize the process unfeasible. Venter was fired by Celera in early 2002 after it became clear that selling genome data would not become profitable and Venter resisted efforts by the company board to change the strategic direction of the company.
Despite their differing motivations, Venter and rival scientist Francis Collins of the National Institute of Health jointly made the announcement of the mapping of the human genome in 2000, along with President Bill Clinton. Venter and Collins thus shared an award for “Biography of the Year” from A&E Network. Venter founded The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) in 1992. He is currently the president of the J. Craig Venter Institute, created and funded by TIGR’s board (which Venter chairs). In June of 2005, he co-founded Synthetic Genomics, a firm dedicated to using modified microorganisms to produce ethanol and hydrogen as alternative fuels.
Source - Wikipedia