Leafing through an old copy of New Scientist this lunchtime I came across an article describing teleported DNA (subscription required for the full article I’m afraid). Jeff Reimers from the University of Sydney claimed the findings, if correct, could overturn the past 90 years in research, in not only biology but all of the sciences. Naturally, I read on.
The central claim of the research paper by Luc Montagnier is that DNA is able to leave an “imprint” of itself in distant fluids, essentially it is subject to the effects of quantum entanglement resulting in quantum teleportation.
Montangnier’s experimental design involved placing one test tube of DNA in solution and another tube of just water inside a copper coil carrying it’s own electromagnetic field, so as to cancel the effects of the Earth’s magnetic field. After approximately 18hours, the contents of both tubes were analysed by PCR (a method of amplifying DNA).
|Diagram of the experimental set up.|
Montagnier claims that both tubes showed evidence of a 100 base pair long gene product following amplification. Suspend your disbelief for a moment while I describe the explanation given by physicists at the Montagnier group. The DNA molecule emits a low frequency vibration, which imprints on the water, the imprinted structure then being preserved by the effects of quantum coherence. This allows the DNA replication enzymes present in the PCR reaction to recognise the structure and copy it as if it were the DNA itself.
Don’t re-engage your scientific common sense just yet, it gets better.
This only works if the original solution, the concentration of which has not been disclosed, is diluted 10 fold before each cycle in the electromagnetic field. The gene product was only recovered after 7-12 cycles, meaning the end solution was up to 10 million million times weaker than the original. The authors were quick to point out that this is not equal to the high dilutions used in homeopathy and no gene product was found in such dilutions. However, it is still a little too “alternative” for my liking.
Now you may allow your disbelief, skepticism and general sense of “what?” to flood back in and pour scorn all over this idea.
Due to the high sensitivity of PCR there is a high possibility of contamination which will need to be ruled out by other research groups before the results can gain any credibility. At the time of New Scientist going to press (Jan 2011) the Montagnier group had not revealed the full details of their experiments. Given that 5 months later the scientific community has not been shaken with any new findings, my guess is the results have not been confirmed (and probably won’t be)
Many other scientists remain hugely skeptical. Klaus Gerwert studies the interactions between biomolecules and water commented:
“It is hard to imagine how any information can be stored within the water over a timescale longer than picoseconds”
Felix Franks, who along with James Randi, proved that water does not have ‘memory’ asserts:
“You can’t make an imprint on it and recover it later.”