Magnetic field effects in Drosophila melanogaster (#374)
Many higher animals have evolved the ability to use the Earth’s magnetic field, particularly for orientation. However, the biophysical mechanism by which magnetoreception is achieved remains elusive. One theoretical model (the radical pair mechanism - RPM) proposes that the geomagnetic field is perceived by chemical reactions involving the blue-light photoreceptor Cryptochrome (CRY). Recent evidence supports the RPM in Drosophila melanogaster, revealing a mechanistic link with the circadian clock. Here we have confirmed, albeit with rather different results, that a low frequency electromagnetic field (AC-EMF) along with a Static Field (SF) exposure does affect circadian and activity behaviour in the fruit fly. Furthermore, we have developed a new assay to better investigate the effects of EMF in Drosophila melanogaster negative geotaxis behaviour, revealing a clear CRY dependent response. All in all, our data support the idea of CRY mediated magnetoreception, thereby indirectly supporting, at least to some extent, the RPM.