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 central 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.