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Entangled DNA

Some physicists are suggesting that quantum entanglement — "the weird quantum process in which a single wavefunction describes two separate objects" — holds DNA together, reports the Physics arXiv Blog. The National University of Singapore's Elisabeth Rieper and her colleagues developed a simple model of DNA in which the four bases are planar, positively charged nuclei surrounded by electron clouds and movement of those clouds relative to the nuclei create dipoles, and if they moves back and forth, a harmonic oscillation. According to the Physics arXiv Blog Rieper's team then asks, "what happens to these oscillations … when the base pairs are stacked in a double helix?" A classical physics accounting of the energy holding DNA together, Rieper's team says, isn't enough as it is "energetically less favourable than the quantum correlations" and so they turned to quantum entanglement as a possible explanation. This work is "speculative but potentially explosive," adds the Physics arXiv Blog.

The Scan

Study Finds Sorghum Genetic Loci Influencing Composition, Function of Human Gut Microbes

Focusing on microbes found in the human gut microbiome, researchers in Nature Communications identified 10 sorghum loci that appear to influence the microbial taxa or microbial metabolite features.

Treatment Costs May Not Coincide With R&D Investment, Study Suggests

Researchers in JAMA Network Open did not find an association between ultimate treatment costs and investments in a drug when they analyzed available data on 60 approved drugs.

Sleep-Related Variants Show Low Penetrance in Large Population Analysis

A limited number of variants had documented sleep effects in an investigation in PLOS Genetics of 10 genes with reported sleep ties in nearly 192,000 participants in four population studies.

Researchers Develop Polygenic Risk Scores for Dozens of Disease-Related Exposures

With genetic data from two large population cohorts and summary statistics from prior genome-wide association studies, researchers came up with 27 exposure polygenic risk scores in the American Journal of Human Genetics.