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Bacteria on the Radio: DNA Could Act as Antenna

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Theoretical physicists have proposed an explanation for how bacteria might transmit electromagnetic signals: Chromosomes could act like antennae, with electrons traveling gene circuits to produce species-specific wavelengths.

It’s just a hypothesis, and the notion that bacteria can generate radio waves is controversial. But according to Northeastern University physicist Allan Widom, calculations based on the properties of DNA and electrons square with what’s been measured.

“For a long time, there have been signals in water. Something is happening around a kilohertz,” said Widom, lead author of a paper posted April 15 on the preprint website arXiv. “You have to look for natural energy levels in the system that would give you a kilohertz frequency. With the lengths of DNA and the mass of the electron, you get the right frequency range for these signals.”
 
 

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