Bio-electricity shapes anatomy

Bio-electricity shapes anatomy

The New Scientist of April 2017 includes an interesting article about bio-electricity. Electricity in living cells plays a role in shaping the anatomy of animals, especially in the early stages of evolution. If we could unravel how the patterns of fluctuating electric potential are transformed into patterns in shaping tissue, it would result in a revolutionary new view on life processes. The phenomenon can not only be explained as phenotypical plasticity which induces differences in genetic expression. It is better understood as bio-electric networks, that can contain and transfer information.

This approach follows the earlier suggestion of Harold Saxton Burr in the 1930-s that bio-electricity is the ‘organizational principle’ that prevents living tissue from collapsing into chaos. Every biological cell has its voltage, the tension between the electric potentials inside and outside the cell membranes, generated by ion-channels and ion-pumps at the membranes. These differences in potential also contain ‘information’ [here the concept if ‘information’ is described as ‘informing cells to either multiply, or differentiate or migrate.’ ].

The article shows examples of planaria, frogs and salamanders and suggests these insights will revolutionize medical treatments of humans. However, experiences in farming suggest it also works in soils and with plants. And the fact that variations in electrical potential influence cell behavior also suggests that electromagnetic treatments of plants and animals must have impact on cell metabolism. A welcome scientific support for farmers experiences with electro-magnetic techniques on their farms. And for researchers who have started to assess plant vitality by measuring electric potential differences of these plants.

Henk Kieft

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