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Scientists find first ever animal Sensor Detecting Earth's Magnetic Field.

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Magnetosensitive neurons mediate geomagnetic orientation in Caenorhabditis.


Many organisms spanning from bacteria to mammals orient to the earth’s magnetic 21 field. For a few animals, central neurons responsive to earth-strength magnetic fields 22 have been identified; however, magnetosensory neurons have yet to be identified in any 23 animal. We show that the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans orients to the earth’s 24 magnetic field during vertical burrowing migrations. Well-fed worms migrated up, while 25 starved worms migrated down. Populations isolated from around the world, migrated at 2 26 angles to the magnetic vector that would optimize vertical translation in their native soil, 27 with northern- and southern-hemisphere worms displaying opposite migratory 28 preferences. Magnetic orientation and vertical migrations required the TAX-4 cyclic 29 nucleotide-gated ion channel in the AFD sensory neuron pair. Calcium imaging showed 30 that these neurons respond to magnetic fields even without synaptic input. C. elegans 31 may have adapted magnetic orientation to simplify their vertical burrowing migration by 32 reducing the orientation task from three dimensions to one. 


PDF here; http://elifesciences.org/content/elife/early/2015/06/17/eLife.07493.full.pdf

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