In 2012, as part of a US tour for my writing guidebook The Fiction Writer, I found myself walking the stately campus of Notre Dame University in Indiana. The library there gladly placed my writing guide in their stacks for students to use and I celebrated with a latte in the local café in town.
Four years later, in 2016, Pixl Press published my book Water Is…, which celebrated water from at least twelve perspectives. The book explored water’s over seventy anomalous properties, among them some that have led to controversial claims such as water possessing memory, intelligence, even life.
Though founded on good science, some of the controversial information and assertions in Water Is… created waves among the scientific community. A year later, in 2017, researchers at Notre Dame published their incredible findings on water and its critical link with DNA; findings that supported some of the controversy explored in Water Is….
Here’s what Resonance Science Foundation reported:
“Researchers at the University of Notre Dame have observed for the first time a chiral water superstructure templated around a biomolecule. Although many studies have demonstrated the direct interaction of water with highly important macromolecules like DNA, the latest study is a final confirmation that water forms a unique and enduring super-structure around the DNA double helix — stabilizing the molecular conformation, mediating its functionality and interaction with important information intermediaries like RNA polymerase.”
The Notre Dame University researchers found that DNA imprints its chirality (left-handed versus right-handed orientation) to create a water pattern template—a macroscopic super-structure of water—along the DNA’s double helix. You could say that water in the cell (interfacial water) acts as a ‘hydration fingerprint.’ This discovery supports the controversial findings of Nobel laureate Luc Montagnier and theoretical physicist Emilio Del Giudice, which suggest that DNA sequences can be reconstituted from water memory and electromagnetic waves.
It has never been more clear that water plays a central role in some of the most important biological functions. For instance, Yingliang Liu and co-researchers reported the existence of direct mapping of molecular couplings and energy exchange between DNA backbone vibrations and water. Through its hydrogen bond interactions, water forms critical patterns around biomolecules, organizing and orchestrating the cellular environment; this points to its importance and leading role in cellular membrane formation and behaviour. Crystalline water surrounds and stabilizes DNA, supporting its electromagnetic field.
“Water is life,” says author Barbara Kingsolver in an article in the 2010 Water Issue of National Geographic. “It’s the briny broth of our origins, the pounding circulatory system of the world. We stake our civilizations on the coasts and mighty rivers. Our deepest dread is the threat of having too little—or too much.”
Nobel Laureate Albert Szent-Györgyi called water the “matrix of life.” In 1957 he suggested that a formal distinction by biologists between “animate” and “inanimate” was not possible because they neglected two matrices without which the substances they studied could not perform: water and electromagnetic fields. In other words, “Biology [had] forgotten water.”
Scientists all agree that water possesses unusual and important physical and chemical properties—its potency as a solvent, its ability to form hydrogen bonds, its amphoteric nature, among many others. Water transports all kinds of things from the sediment of the Nile River to the oxygenated blood cells in your arteries. It is the most cohesive among the non-metallic liquids. “On a molecular level [water] creates the structure of DNA,” Martin Chaplin of Southbank University shared in a 2006 interview. “We wouldn’t have the DNA helix without water.”
Water is the most studied material on Earth; yet the science behind its behaviour and function remain poorly understood. Szent-Györgyi noted that “practically all its properties are anomalous.” And virtually all of them are also life-giving.
In the 1960s, Szent-Györgyi proposed that water in living organisms exists in two states: the ground state and the excited state. Water at interfaces such as cell membranes exists in the excited state, which requires considerably lower energy to split. This property of water enables energy transfer to take place in living organisms, ensuring long-lasting electronic excitations. Szent-Györgyi’s ideas were largely ignored by the scientific mainstream at the time.
But that is slowly changing. Scientists at the University of Washington demonstrated the existence and properties of interfacial water using a hydrophilic gel and a suspension of microspheres just visible to the eye. The researchers showed that interfacial water that forms on the surface of the gel excludes the microspheres and other solutes, such as proteins and dyes. They noted that its formation depended on fixed charges on the gel, aligning with Szent-Györgyi’s prediction. Del Giudice and his colleagues suggest that interfacial water is a giant coherence domain (CD) stabilized on the surface of the attractive gel. As Szent-Györgyi predicted, interfacial water forms inside the cell on membrane and macromolecule surfaces. The “excited” coherent water easily transfers electrons to molecules on the cell’s surface. The interface between coherent interfacial water and normal bulk water acts like a battery, re-charged by incident radiant energy and resembling photosynthesis.
That water behaves coherently, like a self-organized fractal organism, is a concept that remains unaccepted by many scientists. However, biochemist Mae-Wan Ho and other scientists such as Vladimir Voeikov and Emilio Del Giudice suggest that water’s quantum characteristics—it stores information, self-organizes, self-purifies, and demonstrates properties of an organism—not only defy the second law of thermodynamics but are all life-giving.
These recent findings about how water and DNA communicate brings us to the maverick frontier of epigenetics, gene conversion and something called soft inheritance. We know, for instance, that life experiences can alter DNA—not its sequence, but its form and structure and chemistry. The science of epigenetics is based on the ability of environmental triggers to change how DNA is packaged and expressed (without altering its sequence). Recent work also suggests that the actual sequence of DNA may be altered through experiences.
The unifying interconnections proposed in quantum physics suggest that our DNA is controlled by signals outside our cells, “including our personal scripts—messages from positive and negative thoughts, from the environment,” writes developmental biologist Bruce Lipton, author of Biology of Belief. Lipton argues that “biomedicine doesn’t recognize the massive complexity of inter-communication between physical parts and the energy field that make up the whole. Cellular constituents are woven into a complex web of crosstalk, feedback, and feed-forward communication loops. A biological dysfunction may arise from a miscommunication along any of the routes of information flow.”
We are a fractal community, after all. “When you look at yourself you see an individual person,” says Lipton, “but if you understand the nature of who you are, you realize that you are actually a community of about 50 trillion living cells.” Lipton goes on to say that, “each cell is a living individual, a sentient being that has its own life and functions but interacts with other cells in the nature of a community … Health is when there is harmony in the community, and disease (dis-ease) is when there is disharmony that tends to fracture the community relationships.”
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Martone, Robert. 2018. “Early Life Experience: It’s in Your DNA” Scientific American, July 10, 2018. Online: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/early-life-experience-its-in-your-dna/
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Zimmer, Carl. 2018. ‘Can a Parent’s Life Experience Change the Genes a Child Inherits?”The Atlantic, June 21, 2018. Online: https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/06/mothers-laugh-excerpt/562478/
Nina Munteanu is a Canadian ecologist / limnologist and novelist. She is co-editor of Europa SF and currently teaches writing courses at George Brown College and the University of Toronto. Visit www.ninamunteanu.ca for the latest on her books. Nina’s bilingual “La natura dell’acqua / The Way of Water” was published by Mincione Edizioni in Rome. Her non-fiction book “Water Is…” by Pixl Press(Vancouver) was selected by Margaret Atwood in the New York Times‘Year in Reading’ and was chosen as the 2017 Summer Read by Water Canada. Her novel “A Diary in the Age of Water” was released by Inanna Publications (Toronto) in June 2020.