• The Boscombe Valley mystery: A lesson in the perils of dogmatism in science

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    • Keywords


      Anfinsen’s dictum; central dogma; intrinsically disordered proteins; Lamarckism; natural selection; non-genetic mechanisms; prion

    • Abstract


      The central dogma enunciated by Francis Crick and the postulate that sequence defines protein structure andfunction put forth by Christian Anfinsen (also referred to as the Thermodynamics Hypothesis) are some of themost fundamental tenets of molecular biology that have had very profound influences and implications. Theywere formulated based on observations (evidence) that was obvious to the preceptors. However, as is wellknown, exception is the rule in biology and several works in the literature cite examples that appear tochallenge these dogmas suggesting that being dogmatic can be perilous. In this perspective, using the BoscombeValley Mystery from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s fabled Sherlock Holmes stories as a paradigm, I ponderthe necessity to revise the two dogmas in light of new evidence, especially concerning prions and intrinsicallydisordered proteins, much like the call for revising the Modern Synthesis to enunciate the Extended EvolutionarySynthesis.

    • Author Affiliations



      1. Department of Medical Oncology and Therapeutics Research, City of Hope National Medical Center, Duarte, CA, USA
    • Dates

  • Journal of Biosciences | News

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