Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Protein-only Hypothesis

Proposal by Stanley Prusiner in the 1980s that proteins could be transmitted interspecifically, and that proteins could reproduce without a DNA template. Received with initial skepticism, the protein-only hypothesis has gained currency as a probable explanation of the transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. Prusiner called the fragments proteinaceous infectious particles, or prions.

See prion protein.

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