Supercharge your learning!

Use adaptive quiz-based learning to study this topic faster and more effectively.

Central dogma of molecular biology

The central dogma of molecular biology is the hypothesis that the main flow of information in cells is from DNA to RNA to proteins.

The main forms of information flow are (according to the central dogma and current research):

  • DNA Replication: Information of parent DNA is passed on to child DNA.
  • Transcription: DNA information is passed on to RNA as input into protein synthesis.
  • Translation: RNA information is passed on to proteins.

The central dogma recognises that in rarer cases information may flow from RNA to DNA (for example HIV) and from parent RNA to child RNA (a common form of viral replication).

The central dogma hypothesises that other transfers (notably protein to protein, protein to RNA and protein to DNA) do not exist.

The dogma (suggested by Francis Crick in 1958) is now considered an over-simplification, but the concept still stands in the majority of situations.

The main flow of information is shown by the solid arrows. Less commonly, the dashed arrows are followed. No information flows from proteins to DNA or RNA.
The main flow of information is shown by the solid arrows. Less commonly, the dashed arrows are followed. No information flows from proteins to DNA or RNA.