'Quantum jitters' could form basis of evolution, cancer

The molecular machines that copy DNA in a living cell are amazingly fast and accurate at pairing up the correct bases—G with C and A with T—into each new double helix.

They work by recognizing the shape of the right base pair combinations, and discarding those—such as a G and a T—that don't fit together correctly. Yet for approximately every 10,000 to 100,000 bases copied, these machines make a mistake that if uncorrected will be immortalized in the genome as a mutation.

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