The ‘Hill effect’

Miroslav Hill (1929-) performed an experiment whereby cellular cultures were subjected to toxins and were seen to develop resistance to these toxins over several generations. To his surprise he found that sibling cells in a separate culture also developed some resistance to the toxin even though they had never been exposed to it.

The results were interpreted by Hill as a result of some sort quantum entanglement between sibling cell cultures enabling a distant correlation of information between the two.

The experiment is cited by Rupert Sheldrake as evidence of a more generalised morphogenetic field connecting all biological life over separation in both time and space.

A cell line was established (see above) with the white circles representing untreated healthy cultures and the grey circles representing the children of healthy cells that were separated off on a regular basis and poisoned with thioguanine. To start with the cultures either died or a cytopathic effect was observed.

After a few generations however the cultures demonstrated extended lifespans indicating that some beneficial adaptation had taken place. Note from the diagram though, that these cultures are not descended from already poisoned cultures but from healthy cultures that have never seen the poison and were kept separated from the other cultures by means of sealed containers and a distance of several metres.

The experiment was repeated with similar results using different toxins and again using high temperatures as a stressor.

The inference drawn was that the stressed cultures are adapting to the toxins and somehow influencing the main healthy cell-line as shown.

In the diagram, the time sequence is preserved to show that the grey cells are children of the white circles and are communicating with their co-existent sibling cultures (again in white).

How is this influence taking place? Hill suggests that the two sets of cells are displaying quantum entanglement so that when something happens to one culture, a response is seen in the sibling culture. He doesn’t like the idea of a physical signal travelling between the two: “If one tried to explain the adaptive response in terms of signals, the signals would have to travel from the exposed to the unexposed cultures. The results are instead discussed in terms of adaptive states and the non-separability of cellular states due to quantum entanglement of cells“.

Quantum entanglement is preferred over information transfer as an explanation because nothing really ‘travels’ from one point to another and so it doesn’t matter how far apart the two samples are or what physical obstacles are in between them; these things are irrelevant. We have, in addition, the fact that only sibling cells seem to be affected suggesting an existing ‘connection’ of some sort between the two cultures.

Rupert Sheldrake gives a slightly different interpretation (shown) which is that the poisoned cultures are communicating with each other through time and space so that each new test culture is also receiving information from a previously poisoned culture (see above) . The culture has been discarded but the memory of the adaptation persists in some universal field and is passed on via morphic resonance.

A similar experiment is described on the somewhat eccentric Chronodon website as shown in the diagram below where four related cell lines were created with A1 and A2 being sibling cultures and B1 and B2 also being siblings but only distantly related to A1 and A2.

The B2 culture was given a weekly dose of non-lethal levels of tetracycline in an attempt to build up resistance.

Each week samples were taken from all four cultures and given a lethal dose of the drug (shown in red). The results (in orange) show lethality in the control cultures A1 and A2 but marked resistance in the B2 culture and also in its sibling culture, B1.

Genetic mutations were observed to increase with exposure to toxins.
The chart below shows the mutations found in response to poisoning (red), a similar but less marked response in the sibling culture (blue) and almost no mutations in the control sample.

The two responses are clearly related .. but how?

Mutation rates should be unaltered in the B1 cells but they seem to be influenced by their siblings even though the experimenters again took care to eliminate chemical or electromagnetic signals by the use of sealed jars separated by a distance of some distance.

The inescapable conclusion seems to be that a signal was passed from the stressed populations specifically to their sibling population, which contained closer kin than the control population. Thus, the signal appears kin specific. The signal is also mysterious as it can cross solid barriers over a distance of at least one metre for perhaps up to twelve hours or more after the populations have been separated – twelve hours corresponding to the period of sub-lethal stress.

No definite conclusion is reached but quantum entanglement is again discussed.

Bio-photon emission is thought by some to be responsible for many distant cellular interactions including the mirror cytopathic effect but both teams in the experiments above were careful to rule out the role of this type of radiation in the effects seen, so we have a completely new candidate for transmission of biological information.

Moreover, the effects seen here are not of a destructive nature, they do not lead to a deterioration of cellular structure but rather an increased adaptability. We are not seeing a mere interference with cellular communication or a disruption of cellular order but instead the reliable transmission of genuine biological information that:

  • Produces a predictable and beneficial effect
  • Modifies both behaviour and genetic structure
  • Increases survivability
  • Is quantifiable via the number of genetic mutations
  • Is inheritable
  • Is therefore significant from an evolutionary viewpoint

In other words we have evolution not by random mutation and selection but by mutation that is directly caused by the environment and adaptive to that environment. Information (a toxin) has been introduced into the cell, has been interpreted and a meaningful response has been formulated, implemented and communicated to relatives.

Time for a genuine bio-field? Both authors are suggesting a quantum connection to explain not only the communication at a distance but the apparently targeted nature of the information. It seems that not all cultures are the recipients of the information but only those that are close relatives.

This is difficult to explain in terms of current knowledge so clearly some ‘out of the box’ thinking is needed.

Quantum entanglement however is on a particle by particle basis so it would seem that this mechanism assumes a bottom up approach to cellular functioning whereas there is a lot of evidence suggesting that top-down causality is more likely. In other words, the individual particles are guided by some global organisational principal rather than that organisation being composed of the separate activities of independent particles. Baverstock

Quantum entanglement seemingly implies that the necessary information can be transferred on a molecule-by-molecule basis and that the activity of each molecule performs the same function in the sibling culture as it did in the original. So again we have the idea that biology is merely the sum of its own atoms.

What really needs to be communicated or shared between siblings is a package of dynamic network information, a modification or update to the cellular operating system. How this is going to happen is highly unclear but it is this sort of thing that will eventually be recognised as the mechanism necessary for evolutionary inheritance and the continuity of species.


Adaptive state of mammalian cells and its non-separability suggestive of a quantum system – Miroslav Hill

The Hill Effect as a Test for Morphic Resonance – Rupert Sheldrake

Directed mutation in bacteria – Chronodon

The Mechanisms of Radiation-Induced Bystander Effect – Najafi et al

The gene: An appraisal – Keith Baverstock

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