In physics we do things and afterwards worry about whether they worked
Quantum effects in biology
October 26, 2010Posted by on
Quantum mechanics is omnipresent – I wouldn’t go as far as calling it a theme of this blog because I don’t think I’ve been blogging for long enough to have established any themes.
The point still stands, though. Quantum mechanics is now accepted as a fundamental theory of nature and it is the basis of modern physics and chemistry. Biology, However, over its rapid development in the last 60 years or so has not manifested any inherently quantum mechanical effects beyond those that are part of the underlying chemistry.
That is changing. I have recently come across three papers on the arxiv which demonstrate quantum mechanics in avian navigation, photosynthesis and, however speculative it may be, the structure of the DNA.
- The Relevance Of Continuous Variable Entanglement In DNA (arxiv.org/abs/1006.4053);
- Quantum Entanglement in Photosynthetic Light Harvesting Complexes (arxiv.org/abs/0905.3787);
- Quantum Zeno Effect Underpinning the Radical-Ion-Pair Mechanism of Avian Magnetoreception (arxiv.org/abs/0804.2646)