Presentation #409.08 in the session General Topics IV: Non-solar.
DNA-based life forms on earth developed in an oxygen-rich, aqueous environment maintained at a narrow temperature range by solar radiation and protected from solar and cosmic ionizing radiation by earth’s magnetosphere and oxygen and nitrogen molecules in the upper atmosphere. However, protection is incomplete and some ionizing particles reach earth’s surface level.
Here we show that predominantly muons are the cause of a constant rate of DNA damage and result in a constant rate of DNA mutations. The muon energy daily deposited in humans is about 200 trillion eV, and is dispersed in an aqueous environment as hydroxyl radicals and hydrated electrons; the resulting oxidative stress is sufficient to cause one double-strand DNA break in each cell. A particle-based mutation origin is independent of cell division; instead, diseases develop when cumulative DNA damage impairs required cellular network functions.
In spontaneous pregnancy loss the fragmented oocyte DNA no longer holds the well-organized blueprint for a viable person. Cancer develops when any combination of mutated genes fails to control cellular proliferation; hence “long-tail” mutations are expected and “driver” mutations unnecessary. Cumulative muon-derived somatic mutations drive the aging process through irreversibly impairing normal cellular functions and determine maximum lifespan. Autoimmune diseases are the result of somatic mutations within the epitope-binding groove of Class I and II HLA genes in at-risk persons; the organs affected by the somatic mutations determine the types of autoimmune disease that develop at a constant rate.
These diseases are perfectly modeled when probabilities associated with muon-based particle physics are applied to disease incidence, distribution, and mortality. The median Pearson correlation coefficients comparing observed and modeled data for spontaneous pregnancy loss, cancer, disease incidence and mortality, and autoimmune diseases were 1.000, 1.000, 0.999 and 0.999 respectively. For diseases likely caused by a single mutation, a precise disease incidence can be calculated; for instance, the risk of getting any among a range of possible autoimmune diseases in Northern Italy is once every 130 person years. Muon radiation also explains increased DNA mutations in tall persons (greater particle target), and decreased DNA mutations deep underwater or underground (greatly reduced muon flux due to absorption by a column of water or rock).
We conclude that biology is a special form of muon-based particle physics restricted to the unique physical environment provided by the sun and planet earth.