Challenging Biology’s Central Dogma

A recent story in Nature has just fried my brain. I don’t know how I missed the story when it first appeared in Science last week, but I’m glad I did. It saved me from an extra week of questioning everything that I’ve always believed to be sacred about molecular biology. Apparently the DNA>RNA>Protein Central dogma that has been drilled into my pscyche since I was a wee grad student (and beyond) may need to be retweaked.

According to the Science paper, RNA transcripts may be edited on their way to becoming protein resulting in a final protein product that does not match its original DNA template. The authors propose that each person has about 1,065 RNA–DNA differences (RDDs) which would suggest a significant role for gene regulation at the RNA level.

As exciting (and scary) as this may sound, the Nature post reviews several reactions which imply that the methodology employed in the Science paper was flawed and that rushing to make changes in the central dogma may be unjustified.

This comes as welcome news for my tired brain. After so many years of DNA>RNA>Protein philosophy, I’m not sure I could handle a different truth!

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