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Biophoton emission from DNA

  1. Dec 15, 2005 #1
    Hi Guys,

    I've read a couple random pieces on Biophoton emissions from DNA and was quite interested in the topic. There seem to be quite a few suggestions that this could be some form of inter cell communication system. Before I waste a lot of time reading the wrong material I was hoping someone could point me at some reading material on the basics.

    What is the current scientific take on this? Is this currently seen as speculation, truth or something that's still under investigation?

    Thanks
    Warrick
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 15, 2005 #2

    Moonbear

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    I've never heard of it. Can you point us to where you've read about it so far so we can assess if it's a reputable source or not?
     
  4. Dec 15, 2005 #3
    I admit it's not the most reputable souce, hence why I'm asking. I read this stuff like fiction, but I'm wondering what truth there is to the electromagnetic field that is discharged by DNA. The book that got me curious was http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0874779642/102-5494038-9260907?v=glance&n=283155

    If you google Biophoton you'll also get a buch of stuff. Non which looks really scientific .. I'm just wondering if there is "any" truth to it?
     
  5. Dec 15, 2005 #4

    Moonbear

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    Based on that source, I'd say it's not worth wasting time on. It sounded a little fishy from your original post, but there are certainly topics of biology that I don't know about, so it's always worth a source check to see if there's anything to it, or even a half-truth, or a misunderstood principle worth exploring. But, this sounds more like fiction than science now.
     
  6. Dec 16, 2005 #5
    Thanks Moonbear, but I don't want to be that quick on the draw. I read some of the notes at the back of the book and found some of his sources. So of the research he points to is done By Ho and Popp which seem to be a German research group, looking into the practical use of Biophotons (http://www.lifescientists.de/ib0200e_.htm) and then there also seem to be some other sites out there doing something similar (http://www.lifescientists.de/index.htm).

    Of course I'm not making a real case for it just yet, but some of this stuff looks a little more practical. Does this look like something a little more substantial?
     
  7. Dec 16, 2005 #6
  8. Dec 16, 2005 #7

    Evo

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    It's made the Talk:List of alternative, speculative and disputed theories on wikipedia

    Biophotons
    I've added the Biophotons to the list. It seems to a mostly German contribution to this corpus, but I've just checked the articles made it to the english Wikipedia and some little edit struggles are seen. The finer points of classifying as proto- or pseudoscience I've left open so far. One point of possible confusion: Biophotonics exist and is rather legitimate but boring and sometimes hyped to get the funding. It has no connections per se with Biophotons, but the Biophotonists are sometimes trying to take over the term and the article. Pjacobi 08:38, 17 Sep 2004 (UTC)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:List_of_alternative,_speculative_and_disputed_theories#Biophotons
     
  9. Dec 16, 2005 #8
    While I know the photophysics & photochemistry of nucleic acids is a popular topic, I've never heard of that International Institute of Biophysics before in relation to the field.

    I would say that if you do a search for Jacqueline Barton (Caltech), you'll find out a lot about her group's work on DNA as a conductor and charge transfer studies. It's really quite fascinating, especially in regard to possibilities regarding DNA functioning and repair.
     
  10. Dec 16, 2005 #9

    Evo

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    Yes, there is legitimate research then there are people that see snakes. :smile:
     
  11. Mar 13, 2009 #10

    alxm

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    'Biophotons' sounds and appears to be a load of c**p, and in the case of what anniegirl is talking about, snake-oil and quackery.

    Now, spectroscopy, photochemistry and all that are real and established fields. There are few things we know about in greater detail than the interaction of light and matter (on all levels).

    Neither DNA or any other molecule tends to emit any photons spontanously outside of the thermal range. That would correspond to excited electronic states, and DNA, like all molecules, is mostly in its electronic ground state at room temperature. (Take a second to look around and think about how few objects exist that glow spontanously!)

    Now there are plenty of photochemical process. Including in biology. But there are no serious researchers out there who think that light (as in visual light) plays a significant _overall_ role in biochemistry. It would in fact be 'stupid' of evolution to do so. Light is a form of energy that is quite 'difficult' to manage and direct. Whereas biochemistry is all about controlling things. Controlling the concentrations of various substances in the cell, their locations, their production, everything.

    Consider this: there are many, hundreds if not thousands, of enzymes that serve the function of transporting electrons. Electrons! That's like using a whole planet to transport an ant! Only that electrons are perfectly capable of moving through water themselves. Why is that? Control. These electrons are supposed to be 'picked up' at some places and 'delivered' to certain other places in the cell, and _only_ there.

    Light emission and absorption is just as uncontrolled as where an electron goes in the cell. In other words, it's not only something biology doesn't use much, it's something biology trys to _avoid_ in general!
     
  12. Mar 13, 2009 #11

    alxm

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    And this Popp guy is just a crackpot pure and simple.

    So he's saying that DNA is constantly emitting visual light due to some 'quantum phenomenon'.
    First, quantum physics still obeys the laws of thermodynamics, and this would run counter to them for several reasons.
    Second, DNA is routinely looked at spectroscopically. It's likely done thousands of times every day. If DNA had any kind of unusual spectrum, it would be very well known and documented by now (and would've been discovered long before 1976!). In other words, he's saying something counter to an overwhelming amount of empirical evidence.

    Violates laws of thermodynamics + Counter to overwhelming evidence = Crackpot.
     
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