More Signs of Design: Bacteria on the Radio - Evolution News & Views

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More Signs of Design: Bacteria on the Radio

Wired Science is reporting on a forthcoming paper which has been posted on the pre-print website, ArXiv. The authors propose that chromosomes might act in a manner synonymous with a radio antennae, involving electrons travelling around DNA loops to produce species-specific wavelengths.

The paper's abstract reports:

Chemical reactions can be induced at a distance due to the propagation of electromagnetic signals during intermediate chemical stages. Although is [sic] is well known at optical frequencies, e.g. photosynthetic reactions, electromagnetic signals hold true for muck [sic] lower frequencies. In E. coli bacteria such electromagnetic signals can be generated by electric transitions between energy levels describing electrons moving around DNA loops. The electromagnetic signals between different bacteria within a community is a "wireless" version of intercellular communication found in bacterial communities connected by "nanowires". The wireless broadcasts can in principle be of both the AM and FM variety due to the magnetic flux periodicity in electron energy spectra in bacterial DNA orbital motions.

The concept of electromagnetic signal transmission in bacteria is, of course, not original with this paper. Indeed, such an idea originates with Nobel Laureate virologist Luc Montagnier (2009), who detected electromagnetic signals after wrapping inductor coils around flasks of water, hooked up to an amplifier, which contained E. coli and Mycoplasma pirum. The frequency of the signals measured was about 1kHz.

The paper continues:

Biochemistry is most often described in terms of the short ranged molecular rearrangement interactions. However, it is clear that photo-induced biochemical reactions also exist. Photosynthesis constitutes an example of crucial biological importance. The photons which induce these chemical reactions can come from very distant sources (e.g. the sun). Chemical reactions can thereby be induced at at a distance due to the propagation of electromagnetic signals during intermediate reaction stages. It appears reasonable to investigate the biochemical possibilities of electromagnetic signals of frequencies slow on the scale of light signals. Evidence for such reactions has been previously reported[1] wherein the time dependence of electromagnetic signals were recorded to later be employed at will.

In two recent and important experiments[2, 3], it was shown that bacterial DNA macromolecules radiate electromagnetic signals which were monitored employing the voltage across an inductive pickup coil. The bacterial DNA within water was located in a test tube. The pickup coil was constructed with wires wrapped around the tube. Our purpose is to theoretically discuss the biophysical sources of these electromagnetic signals. The sources are argued to be due to electronic transitions between energy levels of electrons moving around the bacterial DNA loops.


The authors further note:
There has been considerable interest in bacterial communities wherein a bacterium is connected to neighboring bacteria by means of narrow nanowires[5-7]. It is believed that the purpose of the nanowires is to allow for intercellular electronic communications. More advanced on the evolutionary scale are the more modern bacterial communities which are wireless. The electromagnetic signals sent from a bacterium to neighboring bacteria can be due to relatively low frequency electron level transitions within DNA.

The authors subsequently attempt to elucidate the spectral properties of the electromagnetic signals via electromagnetic noise by application of the fluctuation dissipation theorum, and hence are able to draw certain predictions with regards their proposed hypothesis.

Since, in E. Coli K-12 bacteria, the length of the DNA circuit is 4, 639, 221 bp (or 0.157733514 cm), the authors predict that "[i]f the mobile electron moving around the DNA in the ordered water layer, skips rungs around the helices, then the electron path around the DNA would be considerable shorter than [this length]. We find satisfactory agreement between the electron spectra and the observed pickup coil noise with the shorter length scale [of 10^-2cm]."

In their concluding remarks, the authors report:

Although biochemical reactions are often described in terms of molecular contacts, electromagnetic signals can often be employed to allow chemical reaction control at a distance. The photosynthetic reactions are a classic case of chemical reaction control via electromagnetic signal propagation. T frequencies much less that optical there is a clear electromagnetic signal propagation in E. coli bacterial communities. We have probed a model wherein such signals are due to quantum electrnic transitions of electrons in orbital motion about DNA loops. The electromagnetic signals between different bacteria within a community is a "wireless" version of intercellular communication found in bacterial communities connected by "nanowires". The wireless broadcasts can in principle be of both the AM and FM variety due to the magnetic flux periodicity in electron energy spectra in bacterial DNA orbital motions. AM signals can arise from the Bohr transition frequencies between different electronic energy orbitals about the DNA loops. FM modulation signals can arise from the Faraday law voltage controlled signal modulation frequency in Eq.(24). There is considerable work required to extract the bioinformation contained in these electromagnetic signals.

Some months ago, I described the mechanism of quorum sensing in bacterial communication. Now it would seem that the information story extends far deeper still. The more we look at the intricate world of the cell, the more we begin to recognise the presence of characteristic design hallmarks -- whether it be rotory motors, sliding clamps, energy-generating turbines, signal transduction circuits, or information storage, or processing and retrieval. Now we're seeing not only those, but miniaturised cell-to-cell radio communication. To paraphrase a conversation often recounted by Stephen Meyer, one gets this eerie feeling that somebody's figured all this out before us.