Articles written in Journal of Biosciences

    • Competing views on cancer

      Carlos Sonnenschein Ana M Soto Annapoorni Rangarajan Prakash Kulkarni

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      Despite intense research efforts that have provided enormous insight, cancer continues to be a poorly understood disease. There has been much debate over whether the cancerous state can be said to originate in a single cell or whether it is a reflection of aberrant behaviour on the part of a ‘society of cells’. This article presents, in the form of a debate conducted among the authors, three views of how the problem might be addressed. We do not claim that the views exhaust all possibilities. These views are

      the tissue organization field theory (TOFT) that is based on a breakdown of tissue organization involving many cells from different embryological layers,

      the cancer stem cell (CSC) hypothesis that focuses on genetic and epigenetic changes that take place within single cells, and

      the proposition that rewiring of the cell’s protein interaction networks mediated by intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) drives the tumorigenic process.

      The views are based on different philosophical approaches. In detail, they differ on some points and agree on others. It is left to the reader to decide whether one approach to understanding cancer appears more promising than the other.

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


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      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.

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