2001 and all that: A tale of a third science

The paper describes the change from molecular genetics to postgenomic biology. It focuses on phenomena in the regulation of gene expression that provide a break with the central dogma, according to which sequence specificity for a gene product must be template derived. In its place we find what is called here ‘constitutive molecular epigenesis’. Its three classes of phenomena, which I call sequence ‘activation’, ‘selection’ and ‘creation’, are exemplified by processes such as transcriptional activation, alternative cis- and trans-splicing, and RNA editing. These phenomena support the following main theses of the paper: 1. Other molecular resources share the causal role of ‘genes’: the ‘causal specificity’ for the linear sequence of any gene product is distributed between the coding sequence, cis-acting sequences, trans-acting factors, environmental signals, and the contingent history of the cell (the cellular code) (thesis of distributed causal specificity). 2. These multiple and overlapping processing and targeting mechanisms amplify the repertoire of RNA and protein products specified through the eukaryotic genome, expanding the possibilities specified by the literal code of DNA (thesis of genetic underdeterminism). 3. These mechanisms of gene expression change the focus of postgenomic research from single molecules and their molecular, biochemical and intrinsic function to their cellular, constituent, component or contextual function due to their recruitment and organization in complex cellular networks. In other words, all agents involved in the regulation of gene expression, including DNA, must interact with other agents to achieve full specificity, which is imposed by regulated recruitment and combinatorial control (theses of regulated recruitment and of system analysis). I conclude from these three main theses that the complexity of higher organisms lies not in its number of genes but in the flexibility, versatility and reactivity of its whole genome.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 28,208
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

34 ( #151,975 of 2,172,662 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

2 ( #172,670 of 2,172,662 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums