Serge Braun

The Babel Syndrome Publication date : June 1, 2016

Serge Braun, is a specialist in neuromuscular diseases. His function as scientific director of the Telethon frequently leads him to popularize his subject, which has now resulted in this scientific novel.

Serge Braun, geneticist and scientific director of the AFM-Telethon, knows that science is best explained through fiction. With this he brings us a historico-scientific thriller, in which a search for the “Talking Gene” crosses and re-crosses the search for the Dead Sea Scrolls.

It all begins with the emergence of a mysterious sickness, the “Babel Syndrome”, which is manifested through the progressive loss of the power of speech and whose genetic causes fascinate scientists. In parallel, the decoding of the Dead Sea Scrolls, like DNA written in four letters, results in… a genetic code, that of the FOXP2 gene, or “Talking Gene”, identified in 2001 and responsible for our capacity to master complex language functions. This gene appeared in Homo Sapiens some 300000 years ago and gave him a considerable evolutionary advantage. One can imagine the global catastrophe that would be caused by its loss through a viral pandemic.

A businessman fascinated by archaeology, a biologist couple, a spy, a rabbi and a “biohacker” carry the intrigue to its conclusion at a frenetic pace. This genetic Da Vinci Code is also a truly popularising text which allows itself a few diversions into philosophy and ethics.