The Devil In The Disguise Of A Mad Scientist

Friday, June 18, 2010

A Life Decoded: J. Craig Venter
Those who are accusing J. Craig Venter of playing God are clearly mistaking the South Pole for the North Pole. Though both poles are snow-covered and have almost the same environment and climate, believe me, it is an illusion, and they are poles apart. North Pole is the northernmost point on the Earth and the South Pole is diametrically opposite of it. North Pole is in the middle of the Arctic Ocean, covered with permanently shifting ice, whereas South Pole is situated on the continent of Antarctica. Polar bears live in the North, and penguins are found in the South.

What I'm trying to say is that God and Devil do look similar with their comparable powers and influence, but a keen observer like me can tell you the difference—God does not have horns and tail, neither does He need a nod from a bioethics committee to tamper with genes.

I hope you now understand that Venter is not playing God; rather he is the Devil disguised as a mad scientist. He has all the characteristics of the Devil. He is extremely arrogant, freethinking, and knows how to manipulate innocent, gullible people to sell his wicked ideas.

The structure of a part of DNA
(From Wikimedia Commons)
He works insidiously at the microbic level. His first nefarious project has been the sequencing of human genome. An organism’s genome is the complete set of all of its genes containing hereditary information and is encoded in its DNA, or in some cases, RNA sequences. In 2000, his company Celera Genomics and the U.S. Public Genome Project jointly announced their success in the presence of US President Bill Clinton and British Prime Minister Tony Blair. He actually got his own genome mapped.

Back then, I only wondered what he was up to, and wasn’t too worried of its consequences. What has disturbed me now is his second crazy announcement, made on May 20, 2010, that his team has created an artificial living organism in laboratory, named Synthia or Mycoplasma laboratorium.
Many people have been fooled by his rhetoric, and some have been criticizing him, but my case is entirely different.

The smooth sailing ship of my life has been capsized by rough weather in waters infested with sharks. Before I recount my misery in detail, let me explain to you what the scientists at J. Craig Venter Institute had really concocted.

Now if you remember, when in middle school, that useless subject called biology, you might recall that a cell is the smallest functional unit of life, and that the human body is made up of about 100 trillion cells. Usually, all cells come from preexisting cells. The nucleus of a cell contains the genetic code in the form of DNA molecules. Some organisms such as bacteria are single-celled. These organisms can reproduce simply by cell division. When the conditions are suitable they keep on doing one- two ka four.

Now what Team Devil has done is that after years of reading, mapping, and exploring the genetic code, they synthesized their own artificially coded DNA molecule, which they inserted into a bacterial cell after kicking out its original DNA. In this way Mycoplasma genitalium was converted into a new bacterium, which was then declared the first synthetic organism. So much for creating life. It is reported that Venter’s team spent around $43 million on this project. I’m sure he used 90% of that amount on personal whims like cruising the oceans in a yacht.

The team boasts that in future they would create many types of bacteria, which would be able to produce fuels, make medicines, combat global warming, etc.

I don’t believe in all that baloney, but they sure have perfected the art, rather criminal act, of replacing the DNA. Now this particular fact has been the cause of my recurring nightmares during the past month.

One night I dreamt that Craig Venter replaced my DNA with Rakesh Jhunjhunwala’s. I felt like a timid rabbit, but acted like a bull. After each sentence I would proclaim I was the 937th richest person in the world, knowing very well that I couldn’t even count money. The worst part was that I started calling the corrupt politicians and the irritating TV stars 'black holes' or something like that.

Another night I was Shakira. Now I was doing nonstop Waka Waka.

It didn’t create much of a problem at home other than breaking a couple of vases and a mini aquarium, but on the street and in the supermarket, people went berserk. Those loonies should be kept in asylums. Some tried to copy my dance steps while others gave catcalls and shouted racial slurs at me. I woke up from that nightmare in great distress.

The fear and the resulting stress have made me sick and I have lost 12 kg within four weeks. My husband wants to take me to the doctor, but I am as wary of all the doctors as I am of scientists.

I think I’ll be safer in India, because Indian bureaucrats and political leaders would never allow such a monster to grow his bacteria on its soil.

Imagine Craig Venter going to Lalu Prasad Yadav with a proposal to set up a Laboratory. The sensible and the prudent leader would outwit him with his ingenuity. “You want to make bacteria that turns fodder into alcohol? Hum kya guy-bhains ko alcohol khilaoonga? We are not worried about the oil resources. We Indians are traditional people. We have our bullock-carts.” Our leaders certainly know how to keep carbon footprints of common people in check.

It would be better for us if Craig Venter remained in the US, because if his creatures ran out of his laboratory, Obama or whoever were in charge would be ready to kick his ass and hold him accountable. Whereas if his harmful organism went out of control in India, the leaders running the country would wash his feet, put marigold garlands around his neck, and help him escape from the crime scene in a jet.

Now have a close look at this Devil, and please don’t allow him to step on Indian soil.

Let him run his shop in his own country. The US of A is ultimately going to be controlled by mad scientists. I’m planning to fly back to India at my earliest. Once there, I’ll have Satyanarayana Vrata Katha at my home. Until then, my Guruji has strictly forbidden me from clicking on these links:  Craig Venter on creating synthetic life
THE GLOBE AND MAIL: Creation redux: A powerful tool for redesigning life
THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD: The god of small things

Guruji has also advised to chant Hanuman Chalisa. J. Craig Venter nikat nahin awe, Mahavir jab nam sunawe...


  1. The intro is awesome! God and devil do look similar! Someday very soon what we see in apocalyptic Hollywood movies about a virus running wild to transform people into zombies may come true. But I see a lot of zombies around already.

  2. Your writing is becoming increasingly lucid and engaging, by the day.

    SK (thinkoutofbox)

  3. Extremely well written and haunting to a thinking mind...:)

  4. Simply of my limited knowledge of biology the post completely made sense to me because of your deft and precise descriptions and made me aware of the fact of discomfort among various scientists on this synthesized organisms....and your light sense of humor made it an extremely enjoyable read...Cheers

  5. an interesting read altogether...

    Giribala's articulate explanation made the "useless" & boring Biology, a compelling read.

    I don't know if this DNA 'replacement' technology can be used productively in combating dreaded viruses like the HIV & Hepatitis; treating serious mental, psychological ailments; and overall exploited towards helping the mankind .... then the Devil can be made to move on the God's path !!

    ... indeed, thought provoking !

  6. Thanks Deb, SK, Sangeeta, WJ, and Udaye :-)

  7. This reminds me of the disgraced South Korean scientist who faked his cloning experiments, misused state funds and violated bioethics laws. He fooled the world into believing that he had cloned human embryonic stem cells, thought to be impossible because of the sheer complexities of the human cells, and overnight became a hero. His glory was short-lived though. We should be beware of this self-proclaimed scientist. Your trademark tangy humor made the article interesting :-)

  8. "Whereas if his harmful organism went out of control in India, the leaders running the country would wash his feet, put marigold garlands around his neck, and help him escape from the crime scene in a jet."

    :( Gave me goosebumps...

  9. God and Devil used to distract each other like poles do. Seems now a days they are flouting the fundamentals of magnetism and giving each other lots of company. Craig’s project have lots of hope for people like me who want to commit same mistake twice.

  10. Ohh... What a great man he is! And how great it would be to have God as a scientist amongst us!
    I totally disagree with anyone who criticizes him!
    And I am sure this is what our honorable politicians too would say once such 'organisms' are out there, creating havoc.

  11. Super funny.....thanks for biology.
    i hated it in school though.

  12. Ajay, IHM, Rajesh, Puja, and IP, thanks for the feedback :-)

  13. Yeah, I heard he's going to work on immortality next. Bah! Who wants immortality?

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