Larry Moran: http://reports.ncse.com/index.php/rncse/article/view/125/135
The correct version of the Central Dogma is that once information is
transferred from nucleic acid to protein, it can’t flow back to nucleic
acids. In other words, translation is unidirectional. The Central Dogma has
never been overthrown or seriously challenged.
Charles P: Shapiro disagrees with this part of the 20th Century version of
The Theory of Evolution. Moran does not provide empirical and verifiable
evidence for his interpretations that contradict with what Shapiro wrote.
However, Shapiro always provides empirical and verifiable evidence in his
Evolution: A View From The 21st Century. Revisiting the Central Dogma of
1 Page 24: The selected cases just described are examples where molecular
biology has identified specific components of cell sensing,
information transfer, and decision-making processes. In other words, we
have numerous precise molecular descriptions of cell cognition, which range
all the way from bacterial nutrition to mammalian cell biology and
2 Page 24: The cognitive, informatic view of how living cells operate and
utilize their genomes is radically different from the genetic determinism
perspective articulated most succinctly, in the last century, by Francis
Crick’s famous “Central Dogma of Molecular Biology.” So it is appropriate
to direct our attention to evaluating the validity of Crick’s formulation
in light of 21st Century knowledge.
3 Reference #182: Crick first published the Central Dogma idea in 1958 to
articulate the growing knowledge about the molecular basis of protein
synthesis. The prevailing idea then was that DNA determined heredity by
encoding protein structure, and it was assumed that proteins acted to
determine the phenotype of the cell and organism.
4 References #183, 184, 185: Crick postulated two linear information
flows based on nucleotide sequence coding: DNA —> DNA during replication
and DNA —> RNA —> protein during protein synthesis. In 1970, Crick revised
his unidirectional formulation in light of Mizutani and Temin’s then recent
discovery of reverse transcriptase activity that could copy RNA back into
5 Reference #185: Crick allowed an extra arrow from RNA to DNA in his
scheme, but he wrote that transfers of information from protein to nucleic
acid or from protein to protein were unacceptable: “...sequence information
cannot be transferred from protein to either protein or nucleic acid” and
“the discovery of just one type of present day cell which could carry out
any of the three unknown transfers (protein —> DNA, protein —> RNA, protein
—> protein) would shake the whole intellectual basis of molecular
6 Reference #186: Clearly, in 1970 Crick held a Cartesian dualist’s view
of molecular information transfer, in which nucleic acids contained the
coded information and proteins executed the encoded instructions. A
contemporary version of this DNA-centric view can be seen in the
article “Deciphering the Code of Life”.
7 See Table I.1: Today, we know about many examples where proteins modify
sequence information in DNA (such as SOS mutagenesis), in RNA (splicing and
other types of posttranscriptional processing), and in other proteins
(proteolytic cleavages, peptide excisions, and peptide attachments). We
also have far deeper insight into the many ways that proteins and other
cell molecules left out of Crick’s scheme (second messengers, membranes,
and noncoding RNAs) influence the structure, expression, and modification
of both DNA in the genome and RNA transcripts.
8 Reference #187: From the kind of information transactions listed in
Table I.1, it seems that “the intellectual foundations of molecular
biology” have indeed been shaken—and shaken hard. The purpose of Part I of
this book is to introduce you to a small number of the many cases
where molecular biology has taken us into new conceptual territory. In
particular, the first proposition of the contemporary view of cell
information processing, DNA + 0 —> 0, makes the point that DNA cannot do
anything or direct anything by itself; it must interact with other cell
9 So all genome action is subject to the inputs and information-processing
networks we know to operate in living cells.
10 Part II describes how the new conceptual landscape leads us to
think about a read-write (RW) genome, replacing the traditional
evolutionists’ read-only memory (ROM) device subject to change by
accidents and errors.
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