Protein Compasses Found in Fruit Flies

A team from Peking University have discovered that fruit flies have clumps of proteins that are sensitive to the Earth’s magnetic field. This is not quite as arcane or arbitrary as it sounds. Fruit flies are studied for a number of reasons, but one of them is that however different they appear to us, they share a lot of genetic code with other animals, including humans.

There is the hope that this research is another step in determining how animals navigate and intriguingly whether humans have any sensitivity to the Earth’s magnetic field. Or, to put it in tabloid terms, “We might have compasses in our heads!”

There is a good non-academic summary on this page.

And the academic paper can be found here.

Image credit.