April 12, 2024

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The sixth sense spreads to animals

The sixth sense spreads to animals

I conducted a study with He flies of fruit Suggest that the ability of the animal world to perceives the magnetic field It may be more widespread than previously thought.

Scientists from the Universities of Manchester and Leicester believe their work, published in naturecan allow the development of new files Measurement tools The activity of biological cells – which likely includes humans – can be selectively stimulated by magnetic fields.

More species that use a magnetic field

The team has shown for the first time that a molecule found in all living cells, called Flavin adenine dinucleotide (abbreviated FAD), can be conferred, in sufficiently high amounts magnetic sensitivity to a biological system.

Scientists already know which species like the monarch butterfly, pigeon, turtle, and other animals use the Earth’s magnetic field move over long distances. But the discovery could mean that the biological molecules needed to sense magnetic fields are present, to a greater or lesser degree, in all living things.

Lead researcher and neuroscientist Richard Baines, from the University of Manchester, said in a statement: “We know very well how we perceive the outside world, from sight and sound to touch, taste and smell. Not yet known what the animals And how do you respond to a magnetic field.”

magnetic reception

To do this, use the search team Drosophila (Drosophila melanogaster) to manipulate gene expression and test their ideas. The fruit fly, although very different from the outside, contains The nervous system that works just like ours It has been used in countless studies as a model for understanding human biology.

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the magnetic reception – As the sixth sense is called – it is more difficult to discover than the five familiar senses of sight, smell, hearing, touch and taste.

According to Dr Adam Bradlaugh, lead researcher and neuroscientist at the University of Manchester, this is because the magnetic field carries very little energy, unlike the photons of light or sound waves used by the other senses, which, by comparison, are very strong. . To avoid this, nature has resorted to Quantum physics and cryptographyIt is a light-sensitive protein found in animals and plants.

They can perceive magnetic fields in other ways

According to Dr. Bradlaugh, “One of the most surprising findings, which goes against current knowledge, is that cells continue to ‘sense’ magnetic fields when a very small fraction of cryptochrome is present. This shows that cells can, at least in vitro, perceives magnetic fields in other ways“.

He added: “We have identified a possible ‘other pathway’ by demonstrating that the essential molecule, which is present in all cells, can, in large enough quantities, transport magnetic sensitivity Without the presence of any part of the cryptochrome. This molecule, flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD for short), is the light sensor that normally binds to chromatin encoded to enhance magnetic sensitivity. “

The researchers say the findings are important because understanding the molecular mechanism that allows a cell to perceive a magnetic field provides us Better ability to estimate how environmental factors (eg, electromagnetic noise from communications) It can affect animals They depend on their magnetic sense to survive.

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The effects of the magnetic field on FAD in the absence of cryptochrome also provide evidence Evolutionary origins of magnetic receptionas it seems likely that cryptochrome evolved to take advantage of magnetic field effects on this ubiquitous and biologically ancient metabolite.