Guest / Limited Access /

He grew up on a 95-acre farm that had no plumbing. Son of a drama professor father and a playwright mother, he wrote and directed a script for The Wizard of Oz when he was 7. But he chose to become a chemist, not a dramaturge. At 23, he completed a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Yale University. After realizing that he'd like to focus on something more human-oriented than quantum mechanics (his emphasis at Yale), he moved on to medical school at the University of North Carolina, where he encountered the field of medical genetics. The promise of genetics to alleviate human suffering got hold of him for good.

Before the employees at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) began to recognize the Honda Nighthawk 750 motorcycle and its 6-foot-4 driver on the campus of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, Dr. Francis Collins made a name for himself as one of the scientists who discovered the genetic misspellings that cause cystic fibrosis, neurofibromatosis, and Huntington's disease. He became NHGRI's director in 1993. Last February, the publicly sponsored NHGRI (and the private company Celera Genomics) published a working draft of the human genome sequence.

Where do science and religion meet?

Scientists are now busy perfecting that genome draft, studying human genetic variation, and sequencing the genomes of the mouse and the rat. The main question that nags them is how the genome works, but they're having to answer ethical questions as well. A professing Christian, Collins talked "genethics" with Agnieszka Tennant, Christianity Today's assistant editor.

I think of God as the greatest scientist. We human scientists have an opportunity to understand the elegance and wisdom of God's creation in a ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedYour Next Bible Will Be a Hologram
Your Next Bible Will Be a Hologram
Microsoft may have just invented the future of intensive Bible study.
TrendingThe 10 Most Influential Churches of the Last Century
The 10 Most Influential Churches of the Last Century
There is much to learn from some key trends in the last 100 years of church history.
Editor's PickWhy Black Churches Are Keeping Millennials
Why Black Churches Are Keeping Millennials
The reasons are rooted in history.
Comments
Christianity Today
The Genome Doctor
hide thisOctober 1 October 1

In the Magazine

October 1, 2001

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.