With a New York bestseller book (The Language of God) already under his belt, Dr. Collins is no stranger to the book writing process. The second to a series of books named “The language of…”; “The Language of Life” is the first one to focus on the theme of personalized medicine in the modern world. Both “The language of God” and “The Language of Science and Faith” focus on reconciliate science and religion, from a scientist stand point.
Francis S. Collins is a renowned geneticist who originally became Ph.D in Physical Chemistry at Yale University and later on, a Medical Doctor at University of North Carolina. As soon as he graduated he was offered a fellowship in Human Genetics at Yale University under the guidance of Sherman Weissman, currently Sterling Professor of Genetics. In the late 1980’s Collins became known in the field of Medical Genetics for his development of positional cloning, a technique that allows to locate a hereditary disease-causing gene by studying the inheritance pattern within a family. Working with his method researchers found the genes responsible for diseases like Cystic fibrosis, Huntington’s disease, Neurofibromatosis, Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia type one, and Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome. In 1993 Dr. Collins succeeded Dr. James D. Watson as the director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), overseeing the role of the United States in the mapping of the human genome. In 2009 President Obama personally recommended Collins to lead the National Institute of Health (NIH) where he works until present day. Francis S. Collins is by no means a bragging individual, bits and pieces of his accomplishments are scattered throughout the book and he makes no big deal about it; instead he just adds this information when necessary to support his research conclusions.
The book is divided into ten chapters and an introduction plus a variety of appendixes containing a glossary and some personal stories related to the book itself. The introduction starts as an easy to read, tragic narrative about a family in which some female members, suspecting some sort of hereditary disease given the incidence of ovarian cancer deaths found in the family, get tested and find out about BRCA 1/2 gene mutations running in the family. Years later DNA testing is used again in this family to positively diagnose Charcot-Marie Tooth disease in one of its elderly members. By the end of the dreadful story Dr. Collins reveals these stories are about no other than his own family, calamitously struck by two rare genetic conditions, conditions that affect less than 200,000 people in the United States. The introduction’s main purpose is to explain why this book was written in the first place and it does so by giving Dr. Collins’s family background and his quest to make DNA testing an active part of our lives.
Francis Collins both a Medical Geneticist and an individual indirectly affected by inherited conditions felt really curious...