A New Type of Radical-Pair-Based Model for Magnetoreception
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Certain migratory birds can sense the Earth's magnetic field. The nature of this process is not yet properly understood. Hereweoffer a simple explanation according to which birds literally see the local magnetic field through the impact of a physical rather than a chemical signature of the radical pair: a transient, long-lived electric dipole moment. Based on this premise, our picture can explain recent surprising experimental data indicating long lifetimes for the radical pair. Moreover, there is a clear evolutionary path toward this field-sensing mechanism: it is an enhancement of a weak effect that may be present in many species.
Stoneham , A M , Gauger , E M , Porfyrakis , K , Benjamin , S C & Lovett , B W 2012 , ' A New Type of Radical-Pair-Based Model for Magnetoreception ' Biophysical Journal , vol 102 , no. 5 , pp. 961-968 . DOI: 10.1016/j.bpj.2012.01.007
© 2012 by the Biophysical Society. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/
This work was supported by the National Research Foundation and Ministry of Education, Singapore; the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (UK); and the Quantum Information Processing Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration (grant No. GR/S82176/01). B.W.L. thanks the Royal Society for a University Research Fellowship.
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