Enzymes could be key to understanding how DNA mutates, quantum biologists find

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Enzymes could be key to understanding how DNA mutates, quantum biologists find

by "from research organizations"

Quote:When a cell begins to copy itself, it must undergo DNA replication, in which the first step is the separation of the two DNA strands so that each can be used as a template for a new DNA. The strand separation is enabled by a type of enzyme called a 'helicase', which binds to one of the DNA strands and pulls it through itself, thereby forcing apart the DNA. Potential mutant DNA bases must survive this process to stand a chance of causing permanent genetic errors.

However, it was previously thought that the helicase action was too slow. As a result, any spontaneous point mutation would have found its way back to its natural and more stable position when the strands are separated. The new research starts to explain how quantum mechanical effects may hold the key to the secrets of genetic mutations and their many consequences for life on Earth. Additionally, this new report finds that such a mechanical separation in fact stabilises the mutated forms of DNA.

Quote:"We always thought that quantum mechanics would suffer in a biological environment. However, it was fascinating to find that the mutations caused by quantum tunnelling are more stable due to the action of the enzyme, helicase.

Quote:"There is little understanding of the role of quantum effects in DNA damage and genetic mutations. We believe that we can shed light on the elusive mechanism at the origin of DNA errors only by integrating quantum physics and computational chemistry."
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell

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