Tag Archives: polypeptides

Huffington Post Claims to have Cure to Cancer

I came across an article in the HuffPo a couple days ago by Kathy Freston whose headline rather blatantly claimed that eating vegetarian diet is in fact a cure for cancer.  Now you may respond by pointing out that whoever penned the headline used a question mark which may indicate that the website is not making a direct assertion. However, upon reading the article, I am forced to conclude that this is a mere act of keeping up appearances. The article is completely credulous and goes so far as offering recipes.

So why am I up set by this? There are two reasons. First,  I feel, along with many other folks on the interwebs (see blog links), that it is important to the collective well being of society for crap science reporting to be called out and dissected in public and as loud as possible. Second, it plain dangerously irresponsible of the HuffPo, and frankly Dr. Campbell as well, to come right up to the brink of recommending to a massive reader base to forgo proven treatments for a bunch of nonsense.  I have yet to address such articles, quite frankly, because I have let this blog lay fallow for quite some time.  I have been busy trying to keep my head above water in my studies and have since all but abandoned the site till now.  This article has woken me back up.  I don’t pretend to claim that my response will cause any change by itself.  To tell you the truth I don’t claim that any impressive number of folks will even read it.  But I feel that it is important for me to at least add one more opportunity for some hapless internet mariner searching for more info on a subject to run into this side of the story.

I am sorry that this one is a bit long…

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The Central Dogma of Molecular Biology

The Term
There is a concept in molecular biology that is referred to as “the central dogma”. I do not like this name as I feel that the language is too close to that of religion, but history has firmly cemented its use to describe the concept. In general, it is described as:

Genetic information flows from nucleic acid (DNA and RNA) to nucleic acid, or from nucleic acid to protein, but does not flow from protein to nucleic acid.

I believe that Francis Crick was one of the first to assert this. To the right is a diagram of the centralcentral dogma dogma from circa 1958, as reconstructed by Francis Crick in “Central Dogma of Molecular Biology”, Nature, vol. 227, pp. 561-563 (August 8, 1970). There had been a strong debate at the time over what molecule was transferring the genetic information from old cell to new cell. The two types of molecules involved were proteins and nucleic acids The legendary description of the double helix by Crick and Watson went a long way towards supporting DNA as the general data keeper, and the data has born this out. In this post I will go over some of the implications of the central dogma, and provide an introduction into how DNA, RNA, and proteins interact to enable the life processes of our cells.
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