According to the recent research about Electromagnetic Signals from Bacterial DNA (A. Widom, J. Swain, Y. N. Srivastava, S. Sivasubramanian) it seems there is a possibility of a "wireless" version of intercellular communication which was found in bacterial communities.

The paper's abstract reports:

Chemical reactions can be induced at a distance due to the propagation of electromagnetic signals during intermediate chemical stages. Although is is well known at optical frequencies, e.g. photosynthetic reactions, electromagnetic signals hold true for muck lower frequencies. In E. coli bacteria such electromagnetic signals can be generated by electric transitions between energy levels describing electrons moving around DNA loops.

The authors further note:

There has been considerable interest in bacterial communities wherein a bacterium is connected to neighboring bacteria by means of narrow nanowires[5-7]. It is believed that the purpose of the nanowires is to allow for intercellular electronic communications. More advanced on the evolutionary scale are the more modern bacterial communities which are wireless. The electromagnetic signals sent from a bacterium to neighboring bacteria can be due to relatively low frequency electron level transitions within DNA.

Conclusions says:

Although biochemical reactions are often described in terms of molecular contacts, electromagnetic signals can often be employed to allow chemical reaction control at a distance.


The wireless broadcasts can in principle be of both the AM and FM variety due to the magnetic flux periodicity in electron energy spectra in bacterial DNA orbital motions. AM signals can arise from the Bohr transition frequencies between different electronic energy orbitals about the DNA loops.

Wired article Bacteria on the Radio: DNA Could Act as Antenna comments:

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.

In Widom’s arXiv paper, he and other physicists calculate that as electrons flowed through loops of DNA in E. coli and Mycoplasma pirum, the species tested by Montagnier, they should generate wavelengths similar to what was recorded.

“Different species have different lengths of DNA” in their chromosomes, he said. “These lengths probably determine frequency.”

“This could be a wireless version,” said Widom. “Bacteria that set up nanowires are, on an evolutionary scale, fairly old. It’s occurred to me that more modern bacteria may use wireless.”

It seems that the concept of electromagnetic signal transmission in bacteria is not new and such an idea originates with Nobel Laureate virologist Luc Montagnier (2009), who detected electromagnetic signals after wrapping inductor coils around flasks of water, hooked up to an amplifier, which contained E. coli and Mycoplasma pirum. The frequency of the signals measured was about 1kHz.

That kind of communication could also explain the phenomenon of quorum sensing mechanism, where bacteria communicate with one another to establish the population density of micro-organisms of their own kind within their proximal environment.

Based on above, the question is, is there any possibility that the diseases can be transmitted wirelessly? Are there any further research around this topic?


closed as primarily opinion-based by Chris, MattDMo, Cornelius, WYSIWYG, Bez Sep 18 '14 at 23:34

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    $\begingroup$ While some of this concept indeed exists (bacterial nanowires), the rest is utter nonsense. Calling this publication paper is also an exaggeration, as this has been published on arxiv which does not provide peer review. Diseases are only transmitted by real microbes (bacteria, viruses etc.). The naming of Luc Montagnier makes this completely cheesy as this man hasn't made any real science for years and only done pseudoscience. $\endgroup$ – Chris Sep 17 '14 at 14:50
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    $\begingroup$ Even if DNA can create an electromagnetic signal around 1KHz that doesn't imply communication. Molecules can absorb or emit electromagnetic radiation at several frequencies, but no one claims this is communication. If the signal is real, it's probably just an intrinsic property of DNA, and putting a solution of pure DNA in water would probably produce the same signal. If someone comes back and demonstrates that bacteria grown while exposed to a strong 1KHz signal show different properties than a non exposed control, then I'd be more interested. $\endgroup$ – user137 Sep 17 '14 at 15:10