Quantum mechanics plays a role in biological processes and causes mutations in DNA

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Quantum mechanics plays a role in biological processes and causes mutations in DNA

Reviewed by Emily Henderson, B.Sc

Quote:The research team found that atoms of hydrogen, which are very light, provide the bonds that hold the two strands of the DNA's double helix together and can, under certain conditions, behave like spread-out waves that can exist in multiple locations at once, thanks to proton tunneling. This leads to these atoms occasionally being found on the wrong strand of DNA, leading to mutations.

Quote:Dr Marco Sacchi, the project lead and Royal Society University Research Fellow at the University of Surrey, said: "Many have long suspected that the quantum world - which is weird, counter-intuitive and wonderful - plays a role in life as we know it. While the idea that something can be present in two places at the same time might be absurd to many of us, this happens all the time in the quantum world, and our study confirms that quantum tunneling also happens in DNA at room temperature."

Quote:Jim Al-Khalili, a co-author of the study and Co-Director of the Leverhulme Quantum Biology Doctoral Training Centre at the University of Surrey, said: "It has been thrilling to work with this group of young, diverse and talented thinkers - made up of a broad coalition of the scientific world. This work cements quantum biology as the most exciting field of scientific research in the 21st century."
'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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