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.
The fact that base pairs can theoretically form tetoamerican motifs with differentially arranged bonds has been known since the DNA structure was deciphered. It is formed when the hydrogen bond protons switch to the opposite bonding partner. DNA is very sensitive to the position of protons during their replication. Once the base pair tautomer is formed, cytosine does not bind to new guanine, but rather binds to adenine due to the rearranged bonds. This creates a boom in the newly formed thread.
The fact that the tunneling effect can give rise to tight base pairs has been theoretically described. However, given the short lifespan of such quantum states, it was previously unlikely that quantum effects would be relevant to biology. Therefore, it was assumed that tautomers return to their normal shape too quickly to survive over DNA replication periods. However, Slocombe and his team argue that the speed of quantum processes is exactly what makes the grill relevant.
According to his analysis, the process of quantum mechanics is so fast that thermal equilibrium is reached where about one out of 5,000 base pairs is present in the form of refinement. This is well above the average mutation rate in the human genome, which contains about 25 new mutations per billion base pairs in each generation. For this reason, experts suspect that DNA quantum mechanical instability is of great importance for the rate of mutation.
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