Ultradilute hybrid DNA dot-blot phenomenon
13 December 2017 (online)
From 1984 to 1991 I was Professor Bruce Pomeranz's research associate at the University of Toronto. During that time we attempted to replicate Jacque Beneviniste's ultradilute antigen basophil/histamine release phenomenon. Because of our association with homeopathy/ultradilution we were approached in February 1989 by a team of University of Toronto virologists for help with a DNA–cDNA ultradilution phenomenon.
In the late 1980s Menir AbouHaidar and Mohammed Eweida were working on a hybridization ‘dot-blot’ assay, using stains, to detect minute quantities of specific viral DNA.
While engaged in this work, they stumbled upon an ultradilution phenomenon. Ultradilute spots on their targets, at particular dilutions, would bind their complementary molecular DNA probe as shown in [Figure 1], where binding is seen at 10−16 and 10−26, and [Figure 2] with binding at 10−15 and 10−16.
In 1988 and 1989 they saw this phenomenon consistently. For the Journal of Virological Methods,[ 1 ] and for their other focused papers, AbouHaidar and Eweida edited out the ultradilutions. However, they submitted a paper on the ultradilution phenomenon to Nature in the spring of 1989. Nature sat on the paper for half a year and then, when prodded, rejected it. In 1990 they submitted the paper to Science, which likewise declined to publish. I have discussed the context of this discovery, and some of its implications, in an essay, ‘Beyond Substance’ (www.normanallan.com/Sci/bs.htm). In June of 1989 AbouHaidar moved his laboratory. In the new lab the phenomenon was no longer robust, and the work was abandoned. (Again, these circumstances are discussed in the cited essay.)
Clinical trials indicate that there is real phenomenon involved in the ‘potentization’ of homeopathic remedies by ultradilution. Beneveniste's 1988 Nature paper on basophil degranulation with ultradilute antigen was ‘debunked’ by the editors. It would be interesting to find out if the AbouHaidar Eweida ultradilution effect can, in fact, be replicated. If a number of laboratories looked for the phenomenon and failed to see it, then obviously it is not sufficiently robust to be worth pursuing. But if even one lab turned up the effect we might finally have a handle for the investigation of the physics of homeopathy.
I wonder if any reader of Homeopathy knows anyone presently doing dot-blots? It would be interesting if they would run the dot-blot dilutions out to the 10−30 or 10−40 (which involves little extra work) and report back to the journal on their findings.
- 1 Eweida M. et al. Highly sensitive and specific non-radioactive biotinylated probes for dot-blot, Southern and colony hybridizations. J. Virological Methods 1989; 26: 35-44.