Friday, October 4, 2013

Weekend Rebel Science Excursion - 24

Proton Tunneling in Genes
Teleology in both science and religion appears in many forms, formats, and verbal expressions during many a dogmatic brainstorm.

Scientists complain that teleological  concepts exist at even the fundamental levels of our modern science (compare If Cosmology Is "Off," How Can Biology Be "On?" with The Uncertain Gene - 2).

In the series The Uncertain Gene, Dredd Blog posts attempt to discuss a pure, i.e. teleology free, account concerning issues about how abiotic machine-evolution intersects with biotic carbon-based-life-form evolution through the advent of the quantum tunneling dynamics of protons.

Specifically, I am referring to proton tunneling at the location of certain hydrogen bonds in gene related molecules (The Uncertain Gene).

We focused on this dynamic both in DNA and RNA, and in both the coding and non-coding sections (a.k.a. "junk DNA" and "non-junk DNA") of genomes.

The specific purpose for looking at proton tunneling is that it is utterly independent of biological functions, because it is an abiotic dynamic explained by quantum mechanics and cosmology rather than by biology.

We are in reference to proton dynamics that evolved during abiotic evolution, billions of years prior to biotic evolution, and before carbon atoms existed --carbon atoms that became part of carbon based life forms (Putting A Face On Machine Mutation - 3).

As you can see in the graphic above (click to enlarge), there are a lot of hydrogen ("H") locations in the individual molecules that make up RNA and DNA (cytosine, guanine, adenine in each; uracil only in RNA, and thymine only in DNA).

Anyway, those "H" locations might seem to be potential sites for the quantum proton tunneling which we are specifically in reference to in this post, however, it is a bit more involved than simply having hydrogen atoms in those molecules:
The reason why A [adenine] pairs with T [thymine] and G [guanine] pairs with C [cytosine] all comes down to matching electron lone pairs.

In essence the hydrogen bond is a single proton shared between two lone electrons (two separate atoms, each containing an extra unpaired electron in their outer orbital shell compete for possession of the single proton).
In addition to the normal forms, the tautomeric forms of the nucleotide base pairs must also be considered. Tautomeric forms are obtained by moving a proton from its original (or normal) lone pair into another position. This changes the inherent complementarity between the bases and as such the tautomeric bases pair differently.
These changes from the normal to the tautomeric forms introduce errors into
the DNA replication process–creating point mutations–and can irreparably effect the genetic code. These point mutations, if not checked after initial replication, can be amplified through continued replications, ultimately leading to severe mutations in the cell.
(Quantum Tunneling in DNA, by Megan Wolfe; PDF). We see, then, that the highly random event of proton tunneling can generate a random mutation in DNA -- an abiotic mutation free of any need for any teleological intrusions or notions (such as intelligent design or natural selection) enhancements to the data.

The phenomenon is simply abiotic evolution through quantum mutation, which, in our world today eventually impacts carbon based life forms by doing what protons were already doing (quantum "tunneling") long before genes or carbon based life forms existed.

When the organism dies the DNA will eventually degenerate into molecules and atoms with the same protons and electrons being recycled somewhere else in the land, air, water, or in other organisms within the ecosystem.

The next post in this series is here, the previous post in this series is here.

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