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Biotech Science

Nobel Prize Winner Says DNA Performs Quantum Teleportation 347

Posted by samzenpus
from the giant-book-that's-hidden-inside-you dept.
HJED writes "TechWorld is reporting that the joint winner of the Nobel Prize for medicine in 2008, Luc Montagnier, is claiming that DNA can send 'electromagnetic imprints' of itself into distant cells and fluids which can then be used by enzymes to create copies of the original DNA. This would be equivalent to quantum teleportation. You can read the original paper here [PDF]."
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Nobel Prize Winner Says DNA Performs Quantum Teleportation

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  • umm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nomadic (141991) <[nomadicworld] [at] [gmail.com]> on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @11:27PM (#34857514) Homepage
    I am no geneticist, biophysicist, or organic chemist, but...this sounds wacky, even by Nobel laureate (who tend to go for the fringe ideas after they win) standards.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by elucido (870205) *

      Exactly. It doesn't matter how an idea sounds. If it's right then it's right.

      • Re:umm (Score:4, Insightful)

        by MightyMartian (840721) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @01:34AM (#34858160) Journal

        By the same token, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Even brilliant scientists can sadly find themselves a few bricks short of load. Roger Penrose has humiliated himself with his quantum mind nonsense, and Fred Hoyle's cosmological contributions were overshadowed by his rejection of evolution (quite out of his area of expertise) and advocating of panspermia.

        • Re:umm (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Internetuser1248 (1787630) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @05:42AM (#34859206)
          Well there were scientific studies [wavegenetic.ru] done, these are repeatable and falsifiable. Rather than everyone presenting their own skeptical opinion as though it were indisputable truth how about we get a few volunteers to repeat the experiments and actually find out the answer.
        • Re:umm (Score:5, Insightful)

          by tehcyder (746570) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @10:22AM (#34861134) Journal

          Roger Penrose has humiliated himself with his quantum mind nonsense

          A claim like that requires some substantiation.

          I know it's official policy on slashdot to believe unequivocally in hard AI and the fucking singularity, but that doesn't mean it's true and it certainly doesn't mean it's nonsense to come up with counter arguments.

    • Re:umm (Score:5, Funny)

      by hoggoth (414195) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @12:08AM (#34857746) Journal

      It does raise my suspicions that he listed 'TimeCube' in his citations attached to the paper.

    • Re:umm (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DebateG (1001165) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @12:33AM (#34857870)
      I am a biologist by trade, and I can say that this paper is very, very poorly done. If it was submitted to any major journal in the field, the peer reviewers would tear it to shreds. Here is the big experiment: 1) Take DNA and place it in tube #1 diluted around 1 million fold 2) Separate it from tube #2 containing all the building blocks of DNA, but not properly assembled 3) In between tube #1 and tube #2 is a special piece of metal 4) Subject the entire thing to low frequency magnetic field 5) There is an induction of the DNA to emit oscillatory radiation 6) DNA replicate magically appears in tube #2 from the building blocks I can buy the assertion that DNA at certain dilution transmits some strange radiation. It's step 5 to 6 that I think is complete and utter garbage. They don't do the proper controls for step 4 to 5. What happens when no DNA is present in tube #1? What happens when there is no inducing field? What happens when the building blocks are present in tube #2? They clearly know that this is an issue because they do the exact controls from steps 4 to 5. The "synthesis" of new DNA can easily be explained by one explanation: contamination. DNA sequencing techniques are sensitive enough to detect one or two copies of that sequence. If any of their reagents, tools, or lab members got even a single molecule of DNA on them and transferred it to tube #2, they would see that result. This is a basic fact that pretty much all molecular biologist learns (usually the hard way, by accidentally contaminating something of importance). To give the authors the benefit of the doubt, I'll go ahead and say they have successfully duped Slashdot with a hoax spoofing the claims of homeopathy.
      • Re:umm (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ColdWetDog (752185) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @12:42AM (#34857910) Homepage
        Yes, this is good. Very good. Just because he can't separate out a mycobacterium from a virus he has to come up with some completely left field explanation?

        The 'apparatus' is pretty impressive. I'd expect this out of an eighth grade science fair experiment but "coil made up of copper wire, 300 ohms". That's it? That's all you need? We've all completely missed this one?

        I know there is a long lead time on scientific publications but April 1st is still a ways in the future.
      • Re:umm (Score:5, Informative)

        by DebateG (1001165) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @01:15AM (#34858074)
        I take back my assertion that this is a hoax. Apparently, this Nobel Prize laureate has a history [quackometer.net] of producing very tenuous science on this topic. I think he's actually serious, which is pretty sad.
        • Re:umm (Score:5, Informative)

          by ColdWetDog (752185) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @01:23AM (#34858104) Homepage
          From your link:

          There are many problems with the paper, not least that it is pretty much self-published in a journal without rigorous peer-review (it took two days from ‘receipt’ of the paper to publishing) and the journal was set up and edited by Montagnier himself.

          My head asplode.

      • Re:umm (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Ruie (30480) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @01:49AM (#34858244) Homepage
        I am a physicist, and there is more nonsense:

        1) Ultra Low Frequency Electromagnetic Waves (ULF 5003000 Hz) were detected in certain dilutions of ltrates (100 nm, 20 nm) from cultures of micro-organisms (virus, bacteria) or from the plasma of humans infected with the same agents (Fig. 2). Same results are obtained from their extracted DNA.

        2) The electromagnetic signals (EMS) are not linearly correlated with the initial number of bacterial cells before their ltration. In one experiment the EMS were similar in a suspension of E. coli cells varying from 109 down to 10. It is an all or none phenomenon.

        • His coil is too small to pick up "ULF waves", rather it picks up magnetic fields varying at audio frequencies. There are plenty of natural and artificial sources that produce these and making a sensitive measurement is tricky.
        • Filed strength is independent of the number of potential emitters - clear signature that they are measuring instrumental noise.
      • Re:umm (Score:5, Informative)

        by Skreems (598317) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @02:37AM (#34858456) Homepage

        They don't do the proper controls for step 4 to 5. What happens when no DNA is present in tube #1? What happens when there is no inducing field?

        From TFA:

        The following controls were found to suppress the EMS transmission in the water tube:
        - Time of exposure of the two tubes less than 16 18 hrs
        - No coil
        - Generator of magnetic field turned off
        - Frequency of excitation - Absence of DNA in tube 1.

        They did in fact answer all your concerns, and I would think that the fact that the generator turned off resulted in a negative trial addresses most of your concerns about contamination... they shouldn't have gotten a negative for basically ANY of those variables if it was just contamination.

        • Re:umm (Score:5, Insightful)

          by DebateG (1001165) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @09:54AM (#34860702)
          Yeah, they did the proper controls on the DNA generation of frequency. I think that could, within the confines of current science, be a reasonable claim. They did not do those same controls on the transmissible assembly of DNA through these water nanostructures. That claim is the one I think is unbelievable. If I were writing this paper, I would make it explicit that these controls were performed for both experiments. The fact that they did not do this leads me to conclude they were trying to trick the reader into assuming they did.
    • Re:umm (Score:5, Interesting)

      by IICV (652597) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @01:37AM (#34858182)

      It's called the Nobel Disease [scienceblogs.com]. The Nobel Prize is one of the highest prizes awarded in science, so it seems like some scientists think that once they have it, the only way to top their previous work is to escape the confines of reality entirely.

      It doesn't turn out well, most of the time.

  • by Gizzmonic (412910) on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @11:32PM (#34857534) Homepage Journal

    God sent his seed into Mary via Quantum Teleportation! That's how Jesus came to be! But don't give in to Quantum Temptation...or you'll end up in Hell!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @11:33PM (#34857552)

    Winning a Nobel Prize does not give you a lifetime immunity from saying anything idiotic. It doesn't even prevent you from putting idiotic things into the arxiv. One might think there were a negative correlation between being smart enough to win a prize and stupid enough to say something idiotic in public, but the data suggests otherwise. Winning the Nobel seems to give some of these guys the confidence they need to make complete asses of themselves.

    I am a particle physicist, and needless to say, the theory proposed in this paper is laughably stupid. The authors have no understanding of quantum field theory, and their observations are a sad combination of wishful thinking and poor experimental design.

  • by Myji Humoz (1535565) on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @11:33PM (#34857554)
    From the freaking paper: "Some bacterial and viral DNA sequences have been found to induce low frequency electromagnetic waves in high aqueous dilutions. This phenomenon appears to be triggered by the ambient electromagnetic background of very low frequency. We discuss this phenomenon in the framework of quantum field theory."

    In other words, scientists observed something that makes them say "hmm... that's strange," which leads them to say "hmm... I wonder what could be causing this?" These researchers tried to explain the phenomenon using the best tools that they thought that had: quantum mechanics. (classical EM theory is pretty useless for fields this weak) The linked article is behind a wall, but the title seems to start with "Scorn over claim of teleported DNA"

    Again from the paper: "In this paper we have described the experiments showing a new property of DNA and the induction of electromagnetic waves in water dilutions. We have briefly depicted the theoretical scheme which can explain qualitatively the features observed in these experiments." Crazy observed phenomenon explained by theories that aren't fully accurate? No way!

    The current scientific media seems to increasingly favor sensationalist titles that enable their readers to go "hah, those stupid eggheads, I know better than them that X/Y/Z is impossible! I are smarts!" and this seems to be no different. There is not, has not, and likely will not, be any claims that DNA teleports. However, there has been, is, and likely will be, evidence that DNA interacts with factors beyond easy and simple comprehension. These interactions seem to resemble "phase-locking regime[s]" observed in "two superconducting samples or in the arrays of Josephson junctions," which is pretty far from quack science. /rantover
    • by paiute (550198) on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @11:47PM (#34857612)

      However, there has been, is, and likely will be, evidence that DNA interacts with factors beyond easy and simple comprehension. These interactions seem to resemble "phase-locking regime[s]" observed in "two superconducting samples or in the arrays of Josephson junctions," which is pretty far from quack science.

      Really? I would like to see some citations where DNA interacts with any other molecule by any mechanism other than enzyme-substrate noncovalent binding.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by fishexe (168879)

        However, there has been, is, and likely will be, evidence that DNA interacts with factors beyond easy and simple comprehension. These interactions seem to resemble "phase-locking regime[s]" observed in "two superconducting samples or in the arrays of Josephson junctions," which is pretty far from quack science.

        Really? I would like to see some citations where DNA interacts with any other molecule by any mechanism other than enzyme-substrate noncovalent binding.

        I don't know about anybody else, but that thing you just said is beyond easy and simple comprehension to my mind...

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Not DNA, but it has been shown that Chlorophyll implements a type of superconducting behavior using quantum coherence.
        See: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100510151356.htm

        • by tibit (1762298)

          And then you go and compare their (Sarovar, Ishizaki, Whaley and Fleming's) papers to Montagnier's, and you pretty much know who did the science, and who is just pretending.

      • Really? I would like to see some citations where DNA interacts with any other molecule by any mechanism other than enzyme-substrate noncovalent binding.

        Well, there are Van der Walls [wikipedia.org] interactions. Just to be pedantic. This is Slashdot after all.

      • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Thursday January 13, 2011 @01:45AM (#34858222) Homepage Journal

        Really? I would like to see some citations where DNA interacts with any other molecule by any mechanism other than enzyme-substrate noncovalent binding.

        Plenty of citations to keep you busy for a while. [google.com]

        I think I know what you meant, but the statement as you made it was remarkably silly.

        • by paiute (550198)

          Really? I would like to see some citations where DNA interacts with any other molecule by any mechanism other than enzyme-substrate noncovalent binding.

          Plenty of citations to keep you busy for a while. [google.com]

          I think I know what you meant, but the statement as you made it was remarkably silly.

          Yes, DNA can be methylated, Sherlock. The requirement is that DNA interact with another molecule, not become another molecule.

    • by Atmchicago (555403) on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @11:59PM (#34857686) Homepage

      The paper is in Arxiv, and has not been peer-reviewed. They refer to Craig Venter as "G. Vinter." I won't hold my breath until these results are replicated by third parties.

      • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @12:48AM (#34857944) Homepage

        The paper is in Arxiv, and has not been peer-reviewed. They refer to Craig Venter as "G. Vinter." I won't hold my breath until these results are replicated by third parties.

        The only way this is going to get replicated by third parties is after the party has been going on for a long, long time and aqueous dilutions of certain organic solvents have been extensively studied by all involved.

    • by guyminuslife (1349809) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @12:13AM (#34857762)

      Even worse than the armchair layman criticism is the armchair layman over-excitement. I'm imagining that within a year, if it's not out already, there will be a book published called something like, "Unlocking the Quantum Secrets of Your DNA" which cites this article as proof that humans have ESP/telekinesis/magic voodoo powers embedded in their genetic code. If we could only unlock the 90% of our brains that most humans never use*, imagine what we could do with our powers of teleportation!

      * I hate that myth. Every time I hear it from someone, I want to say, "Well, maybe you're not using that 90%, but I sure as shit am." Probably comes from the proportion of the brain tissue comprised of glial cells.

    • The title is misleading because it talks about teleportation while the phenomena described, even if it is real, is not teleportation. It makes a copy, it doesn't teleport the original. This isn't teleportation.
  • by mswhippingboy (754599) on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @11:42PM (#34857586)
    they figure out a way to connect my WiFi to my DNA so I can use my body to connect to the internet and stop paying these ridiculous 3G prices.
    • Oh, very snarky. You will be sorry when it turns out the author is right and you go on a data plan when you die!

    • by FooAtWFU (699187)
      Don't be silly. Being able to wi-fi with your DNA won't save you a penny on your Internet connection, because you'll still need a base station. You can skip the hardware upgrade cycle, though.
  • by ignavus (213578) on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @11:43PM (#34857590)

    "Honest! My DNA teleported into her. I never touched her. I swear it."

    • "Thank you, Mr Assange. The prosecution rests."
  • Simplified (Score:5, Informative)

    by mibe (1778804) on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @11:50PM (#34857644)

    My background is strictly biology, so a lot of the physics stuff goes over my head, but I can decipher the sciencey jargon well enough to read the paper. Anyway, here's what they saw:

    bacterial DNA in tube 1 -> water tube surrounded by 7hz field -> tube 2 containing PCR ingredients minus template -> recovery of bacterial DNA sequence from tube 2

    The explanation, as you may have guessed, is super complicated. It involves the hypothetical creation of so-called water nanostructures (water memory anyone?), but apparently the ~7hz field is important and recapitulated in the math somehow that's opaque to me.

    So that's the paper for dummies, so to speak. If anyone can elaborate or correct in simple terms I'd be happy to read it; this is cool stuff.

    • by Phat_Tony (661117)
      This sounds familiar [wikipedia.org].
    • 2 words: Schumann Resonance. I wonder if there is a relationship to life taking hold on this planet and the OP's intreguing discovery...
  • by cjonslashdot (904508) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @12:06AM (#34857728)

    I just read the original article, and it is not claiming quantum teleportation.

    It is claiming that electromagnetic resonances are set up around polymers in water solution, and if the water contains the right building blocks (monomers), then the resonances can reconstruct copies of the original polymers. This apparently occurs even if there are physical barriers separating the polymers from the monomer solution.

    The article relies on quantum mechanics only to the extent that certain quantum mechanical models of water molecule behavior (coherence domains) are used, since "classical" models that rely on energy levels are not sufficient. There is no claim of teleportation that I could see.

    • by cosm (1072588)
      But then it doesn't sound cool! If only mainstream media would realize that what is considered 'dry' is still actually quite amazing when you think about it. I believe the concept of the electromagnetic field permeating charged objects and exerting 'spooky-action-at-a-distance' is just as captivating as 'teleportation'.
    • Hm, now that sounds reasonable, if somewhat weird. If it holds up under further examination and applies to polymers other than DNA, it might have some terrifically useful applications in industrial chemical synthesis.

    • I did not RTFA, but I have worked with DNA and protein affinities and it is fairly obvious that there is more going on than just local electrostatic attractions. I don't doubt that more is going on, but to characterize it as quantum teleportation is likely more to do with getting read than serious assertion. It seems that quantum teleportation is the new buzz word that people like. It won't materialize ( pun intended ).
  • OK, I misread (Score:4, Informative)

    by PCM2 (4486) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @12:06AM (#34857738) Homepage

    When I first read this story I misread the first line and though the scientist had won the Nobel Prize for this research. Later I realized I recognized his name. Luc Montagnier, FWIW, won the Prize in 2008 for being the first to isolate HIV (at a time when its exact role in AIDS was unknown). He's since remained pretty prominent in HIV/AIDS research.

    This other research, however, seems a lot more fringe-y and questionable, and now that I know the Nobel Committee has not endorsed it I will view it with a serious dose of skepticism until his findings can be repeated.

  • After reading this article, one word comes to mind. I think it sums up all 10 pages, and especially the slashdot summery quite well.

    BULLSHIT.

  • Cough, cough... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mesri (993588) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @12:17AM (#34857784)
    To put it simply, this is BS, on all levels. The summary is just wrong, teleportation doesn't even appear in the article on arXiv. But then the arXiv article is ridiculous. It's a thinly veiled attempt to play with homeopathy: "high dilutions", "mechanical agitation between each dilution", and low frequency EM taking the place of "concussing", "water nanostructures" formed on the DNA which can be used to recreate the DNA sequence? And the paper is totally amateur hour. In summary: It's BS.
    • Re:Cough, cough... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Skreems (598317) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @02:53AM (#34858530) Homepage

      It's a thinly veiled attempt to play with homeopathy

      From TFA:

      In each cycle it was diluted 10-fold, and "ghost" DNA was only recovered after between seven and 12 dilutions of the original. It was not found at the ultra-high dilutions used in homeopathy.

      So, not so much. Unless by "play with" you mean "dismiss offhand". I really don't get why so many people in the commentary are being completely dismissive of this as new age nonsense. He's not obviously trying to push an agenda in the paper as far as I could tell. It really seems like he saw some weird effects and documented them, and that's all. Either he's flat out lying, or he really saw something odd which hasn't been fully explained. Why assume that he's lying before any independent trials are done?

  • WTF? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Animats (122034) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @12:19AM (#34857792) Homepage

    That's an interesting claim. Most of the DNA molecules would somehow have to be in sync to get audio-frequency waveforms out. How's that supposed to happen?

    I can't speak for the physics, but the experimental setup seems bogus. See Fig. 1. They have a coil with a test tube inside it. The coil is connected to an audio amplifier and then to the audio input on a laptop, where some frequency analysis takes place. They claim that a solution of DNA in water emits signals which can be read by that setup.

    A setup like that is enormously sensitive to any electric or magnetic fields in the vicinity, mechanical vibration, and even mechanical motion of conductive objects, like fan blades. Like most low-level RF experiments, something like that has to be conducted in a electrically and mechanically quiet area. (RF engineers use either RF-shielded rooms or wooden boxes/sheds in open fields.)

    The history of "polywater" [wikipedia.org] is relevant here. There, it was for a while thought that water could somehow polymerize and change properties. It turned out to be a contamination problem. Here, the authors talk about previously unknown "nanostructures" in water.

    • A setup like that is enormously sensitive to any electric or magnetic fields in the vicinity, mechanical vibration, and even mechanical motion of conductive objects, like fan blades. Like most low-level RF experiments, something like that has to be conducted in a electrically and mechanically quiet area. (RF engineers use either RF-shielded rooms or wooden boxes/sheds in open fields.)

      Monster Cables for the win! It's the only way this will work.

  • [silence]
    Dilbert: ...-quantum!
    Ashok: aaaaaaaa! [jumps out of window]
    Pointy haired boss: I like it!
  • by F34nor (321515) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @12:50AM (#34857960)

    ...how I got her best friend pregnant.

  • Once Again.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Caraig (186934) * on Thursday January 13, 2011 @02:08AM (#34858342)

    arXiv is NOT peer-reviewed, and anyone can put anything up there. (Okay, that's an exaggeration, but it lacks the intrinsic rigor of a peer-reviewed journal.) It's the Wikipedia of science papers.

    While arXiv is filled with some neat (and some not-so-neat) ideas for science fiction writers, I'd be reluctant (to put it mildly) to give credence to anything that sounds weird that resides there. Seriously, I know some cool stuff appears there, but we've been through this before. When is /.'s staff going to stop citing arXiv papers as being somehow more plausible than the Dean drive?

  • by gothmogged (161673) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @03:17AM (#34858634)

    This is pretty nonsensical. At 7 Hz the wavelength for sound in water would be hundreds of meters and light would be many order of magnitude more. How would such an em field be involved in forming nanometer resolution structures in water?

    This is yet another case of wild extrapolation from measurements that are at or beyond the limits of the tools being used.

  • by jklovanc (1603149) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @04:02AM (#34858786)

    I would have more faith in this experiment if the genetic testing of the "receiving tubes" was done by a person other than the one who ran the experiments on them. Maybe he found what he was looking for because he expected it to be found.

  • by Errtu76 (776778) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @04:48AM (#34858960) Journal

    there are no flies in the vicinity when you try it

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