A New Type of Radical-Pair-Based Model for Magnetoreception

A. Marshall Stoneham, Erik M. Gauger, Kyriakos Porfyrakis, Simon C. Benjamin, Brendon W. Lovett

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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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)961-968
Number of pages8
JournalBiophysical Journal
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 7 Mar 2012

Cite this

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, 102(5), 961-968. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bpj.2012.01.007