The Problem With Speed-Reading


Do you tend to scan or speed-read through material to figure out what it’s all about? Go straight to the Executive Summary, then stop? You might be saving time, but you may be missing out on some of the most interesting content.

In the 2001 DNA-sequencing race between the the government and Craig Venter’s Celera Genomics, victory was declared when only one half of the genome was sequenced (a haploid). In other words, they only sequenced what was inherited in one half, not the other.

Now the J. Craig Venter Institute has decoded the other half of Venter’s DNA and discovered that 44% of known genes displayed variations (between the versions inheritied from each parent). Additionally, after the sequencing of the first genome (actually a composite from 5 individuals) scientists had estimated that about 99.9% of all human genomes are identical. Looking at the other half, however, yielded a 46% increase in these locations from 2.8 to 4.1 million, lowering the 99% identical estimate down to the 98% to 99% range.