The prion-mediated heredity that violates the Central Dogma appears to be a specific, most radical manifestation of the widespread assimilation of protein (epigenetic) variation into genetic variation.The epigenetic variation precedes and facilitates genetic adaptation through a general ‘look-ahead effect’ of phenotypic mutations.
interconversion of different forms of nucleic acids on the basis of universal rules of base complementarity.
The central dogma places the actual ‘exclusion principle’ at another stage of biological information transfer, translation.
Eventually, a series of meticulous experiments by Prusiner and colleagues (winning the 1997 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine) has demonstrated beyond doubt that an iconoclastic hypothesis originally proposed by Griffith .
The amyloid-forming conformer possesses self-propagating properties: once a prion molecule assumes this conformation, it interacts with other molecules in the soluble conformation and induces their conversion to the amyloid-forming conformation, much like Ice-9 in Kurt Vonnegut’s A seminal discovery that greatly facilitated further study of prions was the demonstration that prions exist not only in animals but also in yeast where they mediate epigenetic inheritance of phenotypic traits .
Every grown colony of yeast will contain several cells with the prion.