Entanglement is a quantum property where two or more objects are linked and in “superposition” – existing in many possible states at once. When this happens, it is impossible to describe the state of each object individually – the entangled objects must be considered as a whole.
When the researchers analysed the DNA without its helical structure, they found that the electron clouds were not entangled. But when they incorporated DNA’s helical structure into the model, they saw that the electron clouds of each base pair became entangled with those of its neighbours (arxiv.org/abs/1006.4053v1). “If you didn’t have entanglement, then DNA would have a simple flat structure, and you would never get the twist that seems to be important to the functioning of DNA,” says team member Vlatko Vedral of the University of Oxford.