Book Review: The Language of Life: DNA and the Revolution in Personalized Medicine by Francis S. Collins | Science News

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Book Review: The Language of Life: DNA and the Revolution in Personalized Medicine by Francis S. Collins

Review by Rachel Zelkowitz

By
1:51pm, March 26, 2010

As a key leader of the Human Genome Project, Collins brings a unique perspective to the discussion of the promise and perils of genome-based medicine. His latest book presents an accessible and comprehensive assessment of genetic testing and its relevance to health care.

Collins targets the general public. To begin, he gives a rudimentary overview of Genetics 101, then lightly touches on more complex matters such as how the genetic cards a person is dealt play into the overall risk of heart disease, diabetes and what he calls “the big C” — cancer. Collins favors making genetic testing more widely available so people can understand their predisposition to diseases but acknowledges the difficulty for doctors and patients alike in interpreting the level of risk from such a predisposition.

Despite these uncertainties, Collins argues, now is the time to prepare for the future of personalized medicine, which tailors treatment to an individual’s gene

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