Human eye "can act as a compass"

Human eye "can act as a compass"

A protein in the human eye can effectively act as a magnet and help to determine a person"s positioning on the earth, researchers have found in a breakthrough study.

The research, published in the journal Nature Communications, shows that when flies are deprived of the light-sensitive protein magnetoreception, they cannot sense magnetic fields.

However, when this was replaced with the human version of the protein, flies" magnetic-sensing abilities were restored.

According to Dr Steven Reppert of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, who helped conduct the research, it suggests that humans are capable of sensing magnetic fields without even being aware of it.

"So these new results might actually be enough to tip the balance of credibility. I shall be fascinated to see," Dr Reppert said.

In other research, a team led by Alfredo Dubra from the University of Rochester recently viewed rods in the eye for the first time ever, using special technology normally used to view distant galaxies, which they claim could open the door for a number of targeted treatments for eye diseases.

by Emily Tait

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