I somewhat joke that I know an awful lot because I learn from my mistakes. I just make a lot of mistakes. It's OK to fail in science just as long as you have the successes to go with the failures.

The Janus-like nature of innovation - its responsible use and so on - was evident at the very birth of human ingenuity, when humankind first discovered how to make fire on demand.

We have 100 genes or so, which we know we can't knock out without killing the cell, that are of unknown structure.

I turned 65 last year, and each year I get more and more interested in human health. For most people it happens around age 50, but I've always been a slow learner. It's critical in terms of the cost of health care.

The future of society is 100% dependent on scientific advances.

It takes 10 kilograms of grain to produce one kilogram of beef, 15 liters of water to get one kilogram of beef, and those cows produce a lot of methane. Why not get rid of the cows?

I think from my experience in war and life and science, it all has made me believe that we have one life on this planet.

We find all kinds of species that have taken up a second chromosome or a third one from somewhere, adding thousands of new traits in a second to that species. So, people who think of evolution as just one gene changing at a time have missed much of biology.

I was a surf bum wannabe. I left home at age 17 and moved to Southern California to try to take up surfing as a vocation, but this was in 1964, and there was this nasty little thing called the Vietnam War. As a result, I got drafted.

Genomics are about individuals. It's about what's specific to you, not your siblings, not your parents - each of us is totally unique. We will only see that uniqueness by drilling down to the genetic code.

Even though people pretend that medical records are privileged information, anyone can already get their hands on them.

Our genomes are evolving and changing every single day.

Intellectual property is a key aspect for economic development.

If I could change the science system, my prescription for changing the whole thing would be organising it around big goals and building teams to do it.

When I started my Ph.D. at the University of California, San Diego, I was told that it would be difficult to make a new discovery in biology because it was all known. It all seems so absurd now.

Ethanol's not an ideal fuel.

People are comprised of sets of DNA from each parent. If you looked at just the DNA from your father, it wouldn't tell you who you really are.

I was a horrible student. I really hated school.

It's quite comforting to me as an individualist that we're not very close to being clones of one other.

Cells will die in minutes to days if they lack their genetic information system. They will not evolve, they will not replicate, and they will not live.

People think genes are an absolute cause of traits. But the notion that the genome is the blueprint for humanity is a very bad metaphor. If you think we're hard-wired and deterministic, there should indeed be a lot more genes.

San Francisco is one of my favorite cities on the planet.

I think future engineered species could be the source of food, hopefully a source of energy, environmental remediation and perhaps replacing the petrochemical industry.

Nobel prizes are very special prizes, and it would be great to get one.

Life is a DNA software system.

Preventative medicine has to be the direction we go in. For example, if colon cancer is detected early - because a person knew he had a genetic risk and was having frequent exams - the surgery is relatively inexpensive and average survival is far greater than 10 years.

You cannot look at a person's genes and say with any accuracy whether they are from one racial group or another.

You'd need a very specialized electron microscope to get down to the level to actually see a single strand of DNA.

The only 'afterlife' is what other people remember of you.

I'm hoping that these next 20 years will show what we did 20 years ago in sequencing the first human genome, was the beginning of the health revolution that will have more positive impact in people's lives than any other health event in history.

I've gotten some pretty nice awards. I'm having trouble finding places to put them all.

We have trouble feeding, providing fresh, clean water, medicines, fuel for the six and a half billion. It's going to be a stretch to do it for nine.

Most people don't realize it, because they're invisible, but microbes make up about a half of the Earth's biomass, whereas all animals only make up about one one-thousandth of all the biomass.

'Bloomberg's, you know, for people who don't use the service, provides through the Internet - through specialized computers - information about the financial world. It's a very large data base. I think they have on the order of a billion dollars or more a year in revenue.

The fact that I have a risk genetically for Alzheimer's and blindness is not great news. But the reality is that any one of us will have dozens of these risks, and what we have to learn is how to deal with them.

I suppose if there's a set of genes I have, it's detesting authority.

People think that Celera's trying to patent the whole human genome because it's been used as - I guess people in Washington learn how to do political attacks, and so it gets used as a political weapon, not as a factual one.

We all evolved out of the same three or four groups in Africa, as black Africans.

We can do genetics. We can do experiments on fruit flies. We can do experiments on yeast. It's not so easy to do experiments on humans. So, in fact, it helps us, to interpret our own genetic code, to have the genetic code of the other species.

People think they're making individual decisions for themselves and their family not to get vaccinated. It's not just an individual choice - you're a hazard to society.

Each part of our genome is unique. We would not be alive if there was not a single mathematical solution for our chromosomes. We would just be scrambled goo.

Once we all have our genomes, some of these extremely rare diseases are going to be totally predictable.

Early on, when you're working in a new area of science, you have to think about all the pitfalls and things that could lead you to believe that you had done something when you hadn't, and, even worse, leading others to believe it.

One of the fundamental discoveries I made about myself - early enough to make use of it - was that I am driven to seize life and to understand it. The motor that pushes me is propelled by more than scientific curiosity.

As a scientist, I clearly see the potential for harnessing the power of nature.

The chemistry from compounds in the environment is orders of magnitude more complex than our best chemists can produce.

In the past, geneticists have looked at so-called disease genes, but a lot of people have changes in their genes and don't get these diseases. There have to be other parts of physiology and genetics that compensate.

There have been lots of stories written about all the hype over getting the genome done and the letdown of not discovering lots of cures right after.

Energy is probably the most pressing demand on our planet.