Humans May Have ’Magnetic’ Sixth Sense
2011 06 23

By Jeanna Bryner | LiveScience.com


Humans may have a sixth sense after all, suggests a new study finding that a protein in the human retina, when placed into fruit flies, has the ability to detect magnetic fields.

The researchers caution that the results suggest this human protein has the capability to work as a magnetosensor; however, whether or not humans use it in that way is not known.

"It poses the question, ’maybe we should rethink about this sixth sense,’" Steven Reppert, of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, told LiveScience. "It is thought to be very important for how animals migrate. Perhaps this protein is also fulfilling an important function for sensing magnetic fields in humans."

Past research has suggested that in addition to helping animals such as sea turtles and migratory birds navigate, the ability to detect magnetic fields could help with visual spatial perception. Reppert said to picture a magnetic-field coordinate system overlaid on objects we view.

"It may aid how animals perceive how objects are in time and space in a way we haven’t thought about before," said Reppert, who is a neurobiologist.

Animals’ magnetic sense is thought to rely on special proteins called cryptochromes, which are also found in the human retina. While past behavioral research has suggested humans can’t sense magnetic fields, with studies showing such a capability remaining controversial, there is evidence that geomagnetism affects the light system in our eyes.

To see if humans perhaps possessed this other sense, Reppert and his colleagues tested wild fruit flies, with their cryptochromes intact, and those that had their own cryptochromes replaced with the human version of the protein.

They placed the fruit flies into a T-shaped maze, with each arm equipped with a coil wrapped in such a way that when a current was sent through it, the coil became magnetized. The team varied which side was magnetized and its strength, which went up to eight times that of Earth’s magnetic field.

The flies with the human cryptochromes showed sensitivity to the magnetic fields — either avoiding them as they might naturally do if not acclimated to the magnetism, or showing a preference for the magnetized arm of the maze when trained with sugar rewards to go toward the magnetic field.

The human protein only worked in the blue range of light, the researchers found.

The research is detailed in the June 21 issue of the journal Nature Communications.


Article from: livescience.com




Related Articles
The Extrasensory perception of plants (Video)
Solar Storms Sparked By Giant ’Magnetic Rope,’ Study Finds
NASA Voyager Discover Magnetic ’Bubbles’ At Solar System’s Edge
Flamingos Drop From Siberian Sky: Locals Mystified (Magnetic Fields Reversing?)
Famed Magnetic Boy Is Probably Just Very Sticky
Foxes see Earth’s magnetic field and use it to target prey
Birds use quantum theory to literally ’see’ Earth’s magnetic field as they fly
Navy test fires electromagnetic cannon
Huge Magnetic Plasma ’Snake’ Spotted On the Sun
Protrude, Flow: Magnetic Sculpture (Video)
Mercury faces huge magnetic storms


Latest News from our Front Page

Ancient Aryan Mummies and Pyramids of China
2014 11 21
After years of controversy and political intrigue, archaeologists using genetic testing have proven that Caucasians roamed China’s Tarim Basin thousands of years before East Asian people arrived. The research, which the Chinese government has appeared to have delayed making public out of concerns of fueling Uighur Muslim separatism in its western-most Xinjiang region, is based on a cache of ancient dried-out ...
Detekt: A New Malware Detection Tool That Can Expose Illegitimate State Surveillance
2014 11 21
Recent years have seen a boom in the adoption of surveillance technology by governments around the world, including spyware that provides its purchasers the unchecked ability to target remote Internet users’ computers, to read their personal emails, listen in on private audio calls, record keystrokes and passwords, and remotely activate their computer’s camera or microphone. EFF, together with Amnesty International, ...
New UK spy chief says tech giants aid terrorism, privacy not ‘absolute right’
2014 11 21
Robert Hannigan, the new head of GCHQ The new head of Britain’s GCHQ, the UK equivalent of the NSA in the U.S., said he believes privacy is not an absolute right and that tech giants must open themselves up to intelligence agencies. “GCHQ is happy to be part of a mature debate on privacy in the digital age,” Hannigan said. “But privacy ...
LOL: Atheist Feminist Pornographer Used as Moral Authority in T-shirt Row
2014 11 21
Dr. Matt Taylor was thrust into the headlines this last week, largely for his lead role in successfully landing a spacecraft on a comet 300 million miles from earth that travels at a speed of 85,000 mph. In short, Taylor and his colleagues pulled off one of the most amazing achievements in contemporary science and space exploration, and in a ...
Forty Years that Unmade France
2014 11 21
Eric Zemmour is a well-known French author and television personality. Of Algerian-Jewish origin, he may seem an unlikely spokesman for French tradition, but he has emerged in recent years as a prominent scourge of ideological orthodoxy. He is unquestionably the most prominent mainstream French commentator who speaks candidly about race. Eric Zemmour This role comes with a price. In 2011 he was ...
More News »