The tunneling effect makes DNA more stable – spectrum of science

Theoretical analysis of the bonds within DNA suggests that quantum effects in DNA can produce much more mutations than previously thought. This was reported by a working group led by Louie Slocombe of the University of Surrey based on a quantitative mechanical model of the base pair bound to cytosine guanine. Until now, most experts assumed that quantum effects play an insignificant role in the cell. However, as the group reported in Communication Physics, the tunneling effect makes an alternative form of this base pair with variable bonding, known as a tautomer, more likely. Under certain conditions, the tight base pair changes the genetic sequence at that point, so the quantitative effect makes mutations more common. The team writes that the finding could have far-reaching consequences for current models of genetic mutation.

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