Quantum Mechanics Is Also in the Study of DNA

Quantum Mechanics and DNA
Quantum Mechanics and DNA

Molecules of life DNA come to mind. We will talk about the work of life molecules that dominate all of our physical characteristics, from our behavior to the color of our hair. DNA replicates with astonishing precision.

However, this process may not be immune to errors. There may be mutations at the end of this process. Using sophisticated computer modeling, a team of physicists and chemists from the University of Surrey have shown that such errors in replication can occur due to strange rules of the quantum world.

The two strands of the famous DNA double helix are linked by subatomic particles called protons (the nuclei of hydrogen atoms), which provide the glue that binds molecules called bases together.

These so-called hydrogen bonds are like rungs on a twisted ladder that form the double helix structure discovered in 1952 by James Watson and Francis Crick based on the work of Rosalind Franklin and Maurice Wilkins.

Let's Get to Know the DNA Chain in Brief

Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is an organic chemical that contains genetic information and instructions for protein synthesis. It is present in most cells of every organism. DNA is an essential part of reproduction where genetic inheritance occurs by the transfer of DNA from parents or parents to offspring.

DNA consists of nucleotides. A nucleotide has two components: a backbone made of sugar deoxyribose and phosphate groups, and nitrogenous bases known as cytosine, thymine, adenine, and guanine. The genetic code consists of different arrangements of bases.

If we go back to our article;

Normally, these DNA bases (called A, C, T, and G) follow strict rules for how they bind together.
A always connects to T and C always connects to G.

This strict pairing is determined by the shape of the molecules, fitting them together like pieces in a puzzle, only if the nature of the hydrogen bonds changes slightly.
This can cause the pairing rule to be broken, resulting in incorrect bases being attached and thus a mutation.

Although predicted by Crick and Watson, only now complex computational modeling has been able to accurately measure the process.

As part of the University of Surrey's research program in an exciting new field of quantum biology, the team has shown that this modification of the bonds between DNA strands is much more common than previously thought.

Protons can easily jump from their normal fields on one side of an energy barrier to land on the other side.

If this happens just before the two strips are unzipped in the first step of the copying process, the error can pass through the duplication machine in the cell.

This process leads to what is called a DNA mismatch and potentially a mutation.

This research will be published today (May 5, 2022) in the journal Nature Communications Physics.

Located at the Leverhulme Quantum Biology Doctoral Training Center, the Surrey team used an approach called open quantum systems to identify the physical mechanisms that could cause protons to bounce between strands of DNA.

But, most interestingly, the team used an important relationship of quantum mechanics in their work.

tunneling This well-known technique, called protons, was used on protons. It's because they managed to get through, thanks to a magical quantum mechanism. Similar to a ghost passing through a solid wall, it could be correctly identified if named.

It was previously thought that such quantum behavior could not occur in the hot, wet, and complex environment of a living cell.

This Austrian physicist Erwin Schrodinger, 1944, “What is Life?” suggested in his book.

This quantum mechanics could play a role in living systems, as they behave quite differently from inanimate matter.

This latest study also seems to confirm Schrodinger's theory.

In their work, the researchers determine that the local cellular environment causes protons, which behave like propagating waves, to be thermally activated and excited through the energy barrier.

In fact, protons are found to tunnel back and forth between the two filaments continuously and very quickly.

Then, when the DNA is split into separate strands, some of the protons get caught on the wrong side, which can potentially cause an error to occur.

Dr. Louie Slocombe says in his statement;

“Protons in DNA can tunnel through hydrogen bonds in DNA and change the bases that encode genetic information.

Altered bases are called “tautomers” and can survive DNA division and replication processes and cause “transcription errors” or mutations.”

Dr. Slocombe's work is supported by Professor Jim Al-Khalili (Physics, Surrey) and Dr. Supervised by Marco Sacchi (Chemistry, Surrey) and published in Communication Physics.

prof. Al-Khalili commented as follows;

“Watson and Crick speculated about the existence and importance of quantum mechanical effects in DNA more than 50 years ago, but this mechanism has been largely ignored.”

Dr. Sacchi continues:
“Biologists often expect tunneling to play an important role only at low temperatures and in relatively simple systems. Therefore, they tended to reduce quantum effects in DNA. With our work, we believe we have proven that these assumptions are not valid.” They also made a statement.

source: scitechdaily

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