The Central Dogma has had an enormous impact on the way genetics research has developed over the past 50 years. Basically, the dogma states that DNA genes encode mRNA, and mRNA allows proteins to be constructed, and proteins do all the work needed for cells to function. There is a linear logic here that fits into a view of the genome that is static throughout its life and provides a blueprint for life. This is how Franklin and Vondriska introduce their paper:
“Arguably the greatest postmodern coup for reductionism in biology was the articulation of the central dogma. Not since “humors” were discarded from medical practice and logic and experiment instituted as the cornerstones of physiology (which they remain today) had such a revolutionary idea transformed biology and enabled scientific inquiry. Because of its simplicity, the central dogma has the tantalizing allure of deduction: If one accepts the premises (that DNA encodes mRNA, and mRNA, protein), it seems one cannot deny the conclusions (that genes are the blueprint for life). As a result, the central dogma has guided research into causes of disease and phenotype, as well as constituted the basis for the tools used in the laboratory to interrogate these causes for the past half century.”
In their review of these issues, Franklin and Vondriska present a systems biology perspective which makes it clear that the central dogma is deficient in numerous ways and that our understanding of living things needs extensive revision. This is an imperative drawn from scientific research and should not be regarded as just another ‘point of view’.
“The past decade, however, has witnessed a rapid accumulation of evidence that challenges the linear logic of the central dogma. Four previously unassailable beliefs about the genome – that it is static throughout the life of the organism; that it is invariant between cell type and individual; that changes occurring in somatic cells cannot be inherited (also known as Lamarckian evolution); and that necessary and sufficient information for cellular function is contained in the gene sequence – have all been called into question in the last few years.”
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