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Biol Direct. 2012 Aug 23;7:27. doi: 10.1186/1745-6150-7-27.

Does the central dogma still stand?

Author information

  • National Center for Biotechnology Information, National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA. koonin@ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Abstract

Prions are agents of analog, protein conformation-based inheritance that can confer beneficial phenotypes to cells, especially under stress. Combined with genetic variation, prion-mediated inheritance can be channeled into prion-independent genomic inheritance. Latest screening shows that prions are common, at least in fungi. Thus, there is non-negligible flow of information from proteins to the genome in modern cells, in a direct violation of the Central Dogma of molecular biology. The prion-mediated heredity that violates the Central Dogma appears to be a specific, most radical manifestation of the widespread assimilation of protein (epigenetic) variation into genetic variation. The epigenetic variation precedes and facilitates genetic adaptation through a general 'look-ahead effect' of phenotypic mutations. This direction of the information flow is likely to be one of the important routes of environment-genome interaction and could substantially contribute to the evolution of complex adaptive traits.

PMID:
22913395
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3472225
Free PMC Article

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