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Traffic. 2002 Aug;3(8):521-9.

The Golgi apparatus: balancing new with old.

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Department of Biochemistry, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061-0308, USA.


Most models put forward to explain cellular processes do not stand the test of time. The 'lucky' few that are able to survive extensive experimental tests and peer critique may eventually become dogmas or paradigms. When this happens, the amount of experimental data required to overturn the paradigm is extensive. To some, such inertia may seem prohibitive to scientific progress but rather, in our opinion, this helps to maintain a degree of coherence. It is needed so that experiments and interpretations may be conducted within relatively safe boundaries. In the field of protein transport in the secretory pathway, we have enjoyed a relatively stable and productive period for quite some time (more than 30 years!). It is only very recently that the field has entered into a phase where all bets seem to be off. As in any paradigm shift, the accumulation of experimental observations inconsistent with the old dogma eventually reached a critical point. As we 'reluctantly' dispense with the long-standing paradigm of forward vesicular transport, we face a time that is bound to be trying as well as exciting.

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