Physics of Biology


New Results About Microtubules as Quantum Systems

Authors: Matti Pitkänen

The latest news in quantum biology is the observation by the group led by Anirban Bandyopadhyay about detection of quantum vibration in microtubule scale - their lengths vary up to 50 μm. If this observation can be replicated, one can speak about breakthrough in quantum consciousness.

The findings reported in an earlier talk of Banduopadhyay give support for the general TGD inspired view about topological quantum computation (TQC) and allow for a rather detailed model in the case of microtubules. The idea is that flux tubes form a 2-D coordinate grid consisting of parallel flux tubes in two different directions. Crossing points would be associated with tubulins and the conformational state of tubulin could define a bit coding whether the braid strands defining coordinate lines are braided or not (swap or not). In this manner any bit pattern at microtubule defines a particular TQC program. If also conformations are quantum superposed, one would have "quantum-quantum computation". It however seems that conformation change is irreversible chemical reaction so that this option is not feasible.

The TGD inspired modification of the proposal in terms of flux tube coordinate grids making possible TQC architectures with tubulin dimers defining bits defining in turn TQC program looks rather natural. Coordinate grids can be fixed on basis of the experimental findings and there are 8 of them. The interpretation is in terms of different resolutions. The grids for A and B type lattices are related by 2π twist for the second end of the basic 13-unit for microtubule. An attractive interpretation for the resonance frequencies is in terms of phase transitions between A and B type lattices. If A type lattices can be generated only in phase transitions induced by AC stimulus at resonance frequencies, one could understand their experimental absence, which is a strong objection against Penrose-Hameroff model.

TGD suggests also a generalization of the very notion of TQC to 2-braid TQC with 2-D string world sheets becoming knotted in 4-D space-time. Now qubits (or their generalizations) could correspond to states of flux tubes defining braid strands as Penrose and Hameroff seem to suggest and the emergence of MTs could be seen as an evolutionary leap due to the emergence of a new abstraction level in cognitive processing.

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[v1] 2014-09-26 07:07:47

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