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Quantum Biology...The Last Frontier?

  1. A.Villarasa profile image79
    A.Villarasaposted 2 years ago

    Could physics (specifically quantum mechanics), be the groom to biology(specifically molecular genetics),  as its bride? The concept of marrying the two seems counterintutive, and therefore anathema to most scientists/empiricists. Physicist Jim Al-Khalili and biologist Johnjoe McFadden( colleagues at the University of Surrey) don't think so. They are in the cusp of a scientific frontier where no humans has gone before.

    The concept that quantum mechanics (i.e. dealing with behavior of particles in the sub-atomic realm), might affect the molecular structure of the DNA, and therefore give some insight into the origins of  genetic mutations, (which over the centuries have given rise to the variety of  species in the biological  sphere), is stunning to say the least, considering that quantum effects supposedly holds sawy only on the smallest scales and can not govern large biological molecules like the DNA.

    A far fetch thought for now....could this  new scientific frontier lead to the unpeeling of the mysteries of life, and existence to the extent that it could lead us to think of  the existence  a creative planner?

    1. Kathryn L Hill profile image85
      Kathryn L Hillposted 2 years ago in reply to this

      Obviously.

      1. A.Villarasa profile image79
        A.Villarasaposted 2 years ago in reply to this

        The central dogma of the Theory of Evolution, as formulated by Charles Darwin, was  that mutations create the genetic variety needed for species to evolve, and  that ALL MUTATIONS SHOULD HAPPEN AT RANDOM ie no single type of mutation should occur more often than another, no matter what the environmental conditions are operative at the time of mutation. Certain mutations may prove useful, but the environmental conditions themselves SHOULD NOT play a role in the rate of any particular genetic mutation. Researchers however,  have found a case that defied standard evolutionary theory, wherein on one of the experimental models, the lack  of oxygen in the experiment's environment appeared to be triggering one type of mutation over others. Thus suggesting that evolutionary mutation(s) are NOT RANDOM but have some design incentive on it.

    2. wilderness profile image96
      wildernessposted 2 years ago in reply to this

      We know that DNA does not always "copy" correctly and can be a cause of mutation. 

      Is it from quantum behavior of subatomic particles?  An electron that suddenly disappears and a chemical bond doesn't happen?  A change in the nucleus, again changing bonding properties of that atom?  An interesting idea, I think, and worth pursuing.

      1. A.Villarasa profile image79
        A.Villarasaposted 2 years ago in reply to this

        My interpretation of the current scientific knowledge re: quantum biology indicates that there are several areas of applicability of whatever positive outcomes of the research that are now going on in various labs, mostly in the UK. The most intriguing of which is as mentioned in my OP the role of quantum mechanics in the non-random channeling/tunneling of the hydrogen atom (the hydrogen atom being the  connecting link  between the  pair of molecules in the DNA helix)   that occurs when certain environmental stressors are applied to the DNA molecule. Another  potential area of investigation is the question of why plants are so efficient in transforming sunlight into energy via the process of photosynthesis...an efficiency rate that is unmatched anywhere in nature. The possibility that quantum mechanics is responsible for this super-efficiency could be  so fascinatingly l productive  that then could lead to better man-made machines that could produce energy from sunlight as efficiently as plants do.

        1. bBerean profile image61
          bBereanposted 2 years ago in reply to this

          Truly a fascinating prospect.  What is equally fascinating to me is how anyone could even entertain the idea that such complex processes, which we seek to understand, duplicate and exploit because they exceed the efficiencies of all our collective efforts heretofore, could have come about without design.  There is no genuine reason to think so and mathematically it is a ridiculous premise.  You can't add enough zeros to the number of years you imagine it would take for that to be the case to make it feasible, since each bit would be time sensitive within the shelf life of the components.

          1. wilderness profile image96
            wildernessposted 2 years ago in reply to this

            Similarly fascinating to me is how anyone can declare that because they do not understand a process it means a god did it.

            If it is mathematically so ridiculous as to be unable to add enough zeros, I would be very interested in seeing that mathematical treatise.  The only ones I've ever seen are like yours; a simple claim with no proof or derivation involved.  Can you point us to the study where the statement is actually developed beyond a simple claim?

            1. A.Villarasa profile image79
              A.Villarasaposted 2 years ago in reply to this

              As was revealed in some of the experiments now being done by the empiricists at  Surrey University (and other labs as well),  evolutionary mutations are NOT RANDOM at all as was predicted by Darwin's theory, but are significantly impacted by environmental stressors, one mutation developing more frequently than other mutations, depending upon what those environmental stressors are i.e temperature variability, oxygen desirability, substrate availability etc. IF NOT RANDON, then one is led to conclude that a significant  amount of  intelligent planning/designing is involved in evolutionary mutations.

              1. wilderness profile image96
                wildernessposted 2 years ago in reply to this

                "significantly impacted by environmental stressors" means an intelligence was changing the environment (weather, perhaps)?  An interesting conclusion; can you develop it a bit further?

                Maybe prove that an intelligence sent the dinosaur killer asteroid or made volcanoes erupt?  Made a massive sunspot perhaps?  Changed the geology through plate tectonics making the Sahara or the Andes?

                How do you suddenly go from "environmental changes" to "environmental changes caused by design of an intelligence"?

                1. A.Villarasa profile image79
                  A.Villarasaposted 2 years ago in reply to this

                  You are of course infering the theory that the Big Bang was just a RANDOM event, a chemical reaction ( the interaction of hydrogen and helium) unprovoked, and therefore uncaused. A random event that led to all the random events that has since occured in the cosmos including the formation and evolutionary development of sentient and intelligent beings on a small "blue-dot" of a planet called earth.

                  From my own perspective, it made more logical sense, that the Big Bang was NOT RANDOM, in the same way that the creation of you and I were not RANDOM events.

                  1. wilderness profile image96
                    wildernessposted 2 years ago in reply to this

                    No, I'm not referring to any possible cause of the Big Bang.  We don't even know if there was a cause, let alone what it might have been, so there is nothing to be gained by proposing possibilities we cannot check.

                    I am talking about the environmental changes that result in non-random changes in DNA - the same thing you mentioned.  Or did you mean to say that the big bang was the start of evolutionary changes on earth 10 billion years later?  That it inevitably led to "temperature variability, oxygen desirability, substrate availability etc." changes that produce non-random mutations in that one might (might!) be more common than another given a specific environmental change?

  2. Kathryn L Hill profile image85
    Kathryn L Hillposted 2 years ago

    "...unpeeling of the mysteries of life, and existence to the extent that it could lead us to think of  the existence a creative planner?"

    Just call it God. What could it hurt?

    There is no way for us to know anything about the spiritual aspect of life if we do not use intuition.
    So, if one is not interested in developing one's sixth sense, one will never comprehend the whole story.

    Meanwhile, (I think) it is permissable to surmise.

    1. A.Villarasa profile image79
      A.Villarasaposted 2 years ago in reply to this

      Surmising is the prelude to intuiting, and acknowledging... that then leads to interpreting. All volitional activities of the sentient/intelligent, which humans are the utmost example of on earth.

 
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