In a low-key yet confident manner, J. Craig Venter addressed a host of issues ranging from proteomics to religion at a July 20 media forum in New York sponsored by Syracuse University.

J. Craig Venter
The president and chief scientific officer of Celera Genomics Group, of Rockville, Md., however, declined to comment on a rumor that he is one of five people whose complete genomes are being sequenced by his company, a unit of Norwalk, Conn.-based PE Corp. And he refused to predict the final tally of human genes due later this year, suggesting that some biotech companies might be inflating the number "because they sell [the genes] as commodities."

Often without distinguishing between Celera and PE Corp., Venter said his firm is heavily committed to proteomics, the study of proteins encoded by the genome, and to cancer research. He boasted that the proteomics effort will benefit from new mass...

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