Human eye protein senses Earth’s magnetism

A light-sensitive protein in the human eye has been shown to act as a “compass” in a magnetic field, when it is present in flies’ eyes.

The study in Nature Communications showed that without their natural “magnetoreception” protein, the flies did not respond to a magnetic field – but replacing the protein with the human version restored the ability.

Despite much controversy, no conclusive evidence exists that humans can sense the Earth’s magnetic field, and the find may revive interest in the idea.

Although humans, like migratory birds, are known to have cryptochrome in their eyes, the idea of human magnetoreception has remained largely unexplored since pioneering experiments by Robin Baker of the University of Manchester in the 1980s.

Dr Baker used a long series of experiments on thousands of volunteers that suggested humans could indirectly sense magnetic fields, though he never definitively identified the mechanism. In subsequent years, several groups attempted to repeat those experiments, claiming opposing results.

READ MORE AT:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-13809144

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Science

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s