Planetary nebula NGC 6302, better known as the Butterfly Nebula
Credit: (JPL – NASA Photo)
Anyone who has read, the Epigenetic Caterpillar: An Alternative to the Neo-Darwinian view of the Peppered Moth Phenomenon, will understand what I mean by the epigenetic aspect of metamorphosis – i.e. it explains why two seemingly distinct body-forms can arise within a species with identical genes, yet express these same genes differently depending on whether it is an adult, juvenile or larval form via metamorphosis depending upon environmental cues.
This epigenetic aspect of evolutionary leaps in complexity leads naturally to the concept and literal aspect of quantum evolution, as this metamorphic leap in complexity is in part explained by evolutionary models such as the article on this blog, entitled: Alternative Evolution: Scaling laws…something universal is going on and in part by quantum physics itself as seen in the interview article below on quantum biology and its relationship to metamorphosis. This is followed by another article on aspect of nano-dna which has the quantum properties of a liquid crystalline phase, known to have quantum properties of organisation. This is finally followed by a video on the topic of liquid crystalline properties of developing organism in a quantum state. This starts my mission to start focusing on the quantum nature of biology and evolution. Enjoy and hopefully see you here soon.
BBC Secrets Of Quantum Physics (2014) Episode Scripts
Let There Be Life
Welcome to a new and very strange world of nature. It’s been taken over by the weird subatomic particles of quantum physics… The miracle of metamorphosis.
The transformation of a tadpole into a frog has never been fully explained.
In little more than six weeks, the tadpole breaks down, then reassembles in its adult form.
But the big mystery is how it happens so fast.
When you think about it, there’s nothing more extraordinary than a tadpole turning into a frog.
Take its tail, for example.
Over a period of several weeks, it gets reabsorbed into the body and the proteins and fibres that make up the flesh get recycled to form the frog’s new limbs.
But for this to happen, trillions and trillions of chemical reactions work together, breaking molecules, forming new ones in a carefully orchestrated dance.
But the fibres that hold flesh together are very, very strong.
They’re a bit like these ropes holding my raft together.
In order to dismantle the raft, I’d have to undo these very tight knots.
You could think of it like this a tadpole is held together by long robes of proteins knotted together by chemical bonds.
The bonds are so strong that they should last for years, much longer than the tadpole’s entire life span.
So how can it turn into a frog in just a few weeks? The explanation involves one of the most important molecules of life.
Tiny widgets in all our cells called enzymes.
The enzymes are the actual machinery of the cell.
They are actually the little machines inside cells that do the chemical transformations that are involved in everyday life.
They are absolutely crucial.
And the reason they’re so crucial is because what they are able to do is to accelerate chemical reactions by enormous amounts.
.In metamorphosis, it’s enzymes that dismantle the tadpole’s tail.
And that means breaking down an incredibly tough protein called collagen.
Collagen is one of the most important proteins in the biological world.
It’s the protein which actually gives that resilience, that elasticity to tendons, to cartilage, and of course to our skin, as well.
And in the tail of the tadpole, it provides the kind of scaffold that supports that structure.
Now, when the tadpole is transformed into the frog, what you need to do is to essentially have an enzyme, collagenase, which will literally snip the collagen down into small pieces and thereby take that scaffold apart.
But how do enzymes break chemical bonds apart so incredibly fast? Let me show you why it’s a problem only quantum biology can solve.
Think of it this way, all these different parts of the knot are like subatomic particles – electrons, protons – that hold the different parts of the molecule together.
Now, to untie the knot, enzymes have to move protons about.
But as you can see, this takes quite a bit of effort and a lot of time if there are many knots to unpick….To break a bond apart, it needs enough energy to get over the barrier.
The trouble is, when we work out how long this would take, it’s much too slow to break down a tadpole’s tale.
But this is where protons turn into ghosts.
I wouldn’t blame you for thinking that this is an idea that a clever theoretician has come up with, that it’s just mere speculation – something that we have no proof of.
But we do.
It takes place all the time.
In the quantum world, protons don’t have to go over barriers.
They can tunnel straight through.
Tunnelling strikes at the very heart of what is most strange about quantum mechanics.
It’s like nothing we see in our everyday world.
A quantum particle can tunnel from one place to another even if it has to pass through an impenetrable barrier.
They are not solid objects like balls in our everyday world.
They have spread out, fuzzy, wavelike behaviour that allows them to leak through an energy barrier.
A particle can disappear on one side of the barrier and instantaneously reappear on the other.
In nuclear physics, this effect is a proven fact.
Without quantum tunnelling, the Sun simply wouldn’t shine.
But I never thought I’d see it in a tadpole.
…The most important advantage of tunnelling is its speed.
It happens incredibly quickly – much faster than if protons go OVER the barrier.
As a nuclear physicist, quantum tunnelling is my bread and butter.
Subatomic particles like protons do it all the time.
But what has this got to do with biology? The answer is that without quantum ghosts, the metamorphosis of a tadpole would be impossible.
End of this first article….
Here is the second article:
‘Tiny DNA Molecules Show Liquid Crystal Phases, Pointing Up New Scenario For First Life On Earth
The summary is as follows:
Scientists have discovered some unexpected forms of liquid crystals of ultrashort DNA molecules immersed in water, providing a new scenario for a key step in the emergence of life on Earth.
….Since the formation of molecular chains as uniform as DNA by random chemistry is essentially impossible, Clark said, scientists have been seeking effective ways for simple molecules to spontaneously self-select, “chain-up” and self-replicate. The new study shows that in a mixture of tiny fragments of DNA, those molecules capable of forming liquid crystals selectively condense into droplets in which conditions are favorable for them to be chemically linked into longer molecules with enhanced liquid crystal-forming tendencies, he said.
“We found that even tiny fragments of double helix DNA can spontaneously self-assemble into columns that contain many molecules,” Clark said. “Our vision is that from the collection of ancient molecules, short RNA pieces or some structurally related precursor emerged as the molecular fragments most capable of condensing into liquid crystal droplets, selectively developing into long molecules.”
Liquid crystals — organic materials related to soap that exhibit both solid and liquid properties — are commonly used for information displays in computers, flat-panel televisions, cell phones, calculators and watches. Most liquid crystal phase molecules are rod-shaped and have the ability to spontaneously form large domains of a common orientation, which makes them particularly sensitive to stimuli like changes in temperature or applied voltage.
RNA and DNA are chain-like polymers with side groups known as nucleotides, or bases, that selectively adhere only to specific bases on a second chain. Matching, or complementary base sequences enable the chains to pair up and form the widely recognized double helix structure. Genetic information is encoded in sequences of thousands to millions of bases along the chains, which can be microns to millimeters in length.
Such DNA polynucleotides had previously been shown to organize into liquid crystal phases in which the chains spontaneously oriented parallel to each other, he said. Researchers understand the liquid crystal organization to be a result of DNA’s elongated molecular shape, making parallel alignment easier, much like spaghetti thrown in a box and shaken would be prone to line up in parallel, Clark said.
End of article
Below is a video interview of Mae-Wan Ho.
“Quantum Evolution: THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT” will be the final book in the alternative evolutionary series. This has been researched and written – and will make its way into ebook and print over the next few months. A well known term in chaos theory (to understand how system become ordered from disordered) is the butterfly effect – a slight change at the beginning of a developing system (such as a weather front – initial sensitive conditions) can result in a profoundly different outcome. The analogy of a butterfly flapping its wings in one part of the globe can cause, in the end, a massive hurricane in another part of the world. This fully applies conceptually to the quantum butterfly effect in biology also. However, for now, my present focus is on the second last book in the series and I am currently doing a series relating to this research as seen in the first link on scaling laws. It’s working title is: EVOLUTION: Well if it didn’t happen by Neo-Darwinian means: how did it happen? So, while waiting for more on the quantum butterfly, why not check out this series over the coming weeks and months on this blog.