J. Craig Venter

Genomics Scientist, J. Craig Venter Institute, National Medal of Biological Sciences

Craig Venter is a biochemist, geneticist, and entrepreneur known for being one of the first to sequence the human genome in 2001. In 2003, he started mapping the ocean's biodiversity. Scientists at the J. Craig Venter Institute announced that they had manufactured the entire genome of a bacterium by painstakingly stitching together its chemical components in early 2008. By sequencing a genome, scientists can begin to custom-design bootable organisms, creating biological robots that can produce from scratch chemicals humans can use, such as biofuel. In 2010, they announced that they had created "synthetic life" -- they had created DNA digitally, inserted it into a living bacterium, and it remained alive.

He was on Time magazine's 2007 list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.