Can’t Touch the Quantum

Photosynthesis: not even remotely that simple

In an error that will likely soon be corrected, the latest Thomas article – What Will the Next Biological Breakthrough Be?(screenshot) – reuses a previously-seen title. [ED: after several days it has been changed to “Photosynthesis Uses Quantum Physics”]

The actual subject of the article closely resembles that I discussed most recently in Bird Brained Quantum Mechanic, in which I concluded:

So, what makes this unevolvable? Indeed, what makes this any different from any other sensory-related chemical reaction from the point of view of the organism? Evolution can and will exploit anything it can, even if we don’t understand it. This isn’t the first case of ‘quantum’ in the field of biology, and it wont be the last.

The only thing to change now is that the “chemical reaction” here is not sensory, but instead forms part of the process of photosynthesis in bacteria (and probably plants as well, but the experiment was done with bacteria). Continue reading