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magnetoreception: Microwave News Article Archive (2004 - )

July 5, 2023

“Upper Bound for Broadband RF Disruption of Magnetic Compass Orientation in Night-Migratory Songbirds,” PNAS, July 3, 2023. From the Oldenburg and Oxford research groups. “These results provide compelling evidence that the magnetic compass of migratory birds operates by a [flavin-containing] radical pair mechanism.” Open access.


June 1, 2022

“Human Magnetic Sense Is Mediated by a Light and Magnetic Field Resonance‐Dependent Mechanism,” Scientific Reports, May 30, 2022. Establishes “the existence of a human magnetic sense to the geomagnetic field.” But, at least in this experiment, magnetic orientation was seen in men but not in women.


May 8, 2021

“Map-Like Use of Earth’s Magnetic Field in Sharks,” Current Biology, posted May 6, 2021. “The use of magnetic maps appears to be a fundamental tactic of how marine animals migrate. … This work points to a solution for a major puzzle in biogeography: how are migratory routes and population structure maintained in marine environments…”

May 6, 2021

Arabidopsis Cryptochrome Is Responsive to RF EMFs,” Scientific Reports, July 9, 2021. RF “reduces conformational changes associated with biological activity” and “alters cryptochrome-dependent plant growth responses and gene expression.” This is the “first demonstration of a biological receptor responding to RF exposure.

February 16, 2019

“Blue Light-Dependent Human Magnetoreception in Geomagnetic Food Orientation,” PLoS1, online February 14, 2019.

“Blue-light dependent human magnetoreception occurs in the eyes in a manner that appears to involve the brain and glucose.” From Korea; open access.

January 3, 2019

“Low-Intensity EMFs Induce Human Cryptochrome To Modulate Intracellular Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS),” PLoS Biology, October 2, 2018.

“Here, we show … that exposure of mammalian cells to weak pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMFs) stimulates rapid accumulation of ROS, a potentially toxic metabolite with multiple roles in stress response and cellular ageing. Following exposure to PEMF, cell growth is slowed, and ROS-responsive genes are induced. These effects require the presence of cryptochrome, a putative magnetosensor that synthesizes ROS. We conclude that modulation of intracellular ROS via cryptochromes represents a general response to weak EMFs, which can account for either therapeutic or pathological effects depending on exposure.” Funded by USAF. Also this follow-up: “Cryptochrome: The Magnetosensor with a Sinister Side?” (Both open access)

September 1, 2016

“Smart Skin Enables Magnetoreception,” The Scientist, September 2016.

“It would truly be a sixth-sense technology.”

March 31, 2016

“The results of our experiments suggest the remarkable sensitivity … of the Antarctic amphipod … Even 2 nT RF regardless of frequency was able to disrupt orientation.” (1-10 MHz)

June 18, 2015

“Magnetosensitive Neurons Mediate Geomagnetic Orientation in C. elegans,” eLIFE, posted online June 17, 2015.

“Our findings that the direction of vertical migrations could be reversed by an imposed magnetic field and that wild-type populations of worms from opposite hemispheres displayed opposite vertical migration preference strongly suggests that C. elegans relies on the geomagnetic field rather than gravity.” (open access).

January 16, 2015

“Evidence for Geomagnetic Imprinting and Magnetic Navigation in the Natal Homing of Sea Turtles,” Current Biology, February 2, 2015.

“[O]ur results provide the strongest evidence to date that sea turtles find their nesting areas at least in part by navigating to unique magnetic signatures along the coast.…These findings…suggest that similar mechanisms underlie natal homing in diverse long-distance migrants such as fishes, birds and mammals.” Open access.

January 7, 2015

“Magnetoreception in Birds: The Effect of RF Fields,” Journal of the Royal Society Interface, posted online December 24, 2014.

“RF fields appear to affect magnetoreception only as long as they are present—their disruptive effect appears to be gone when they are no longer applied, without lasting after-effects.” From the Wiltschko-Ritz team. Open access.

June 24, 2014

“A Magnetic Compass Aids Monarch Butterfly Migration,” Nature Communications, posted online June 24, 2013.

Open access. A “vulnerability to consider is the potential disruption of the magnetic compass in monarchs by human-induced [EM] noise.”

May 7, 2014

“Anthropogenic EM Noise Disrupts Magnetic Compass Orientation in a Migratory Bird,” Nature, May 8, 2014.

By a group at Germany’s University of Oldenburg. “[U]sing a double-blinded protocol we have documented a clear and reproducible effect on a biological system of anthropogenic EM fields much weaker than the current ICNIRP guidelines.” With an accompanying comment by Joe Kirschvink of CalTech: The authors “demonstrate convincingly that migrating European robins stop using their magnetic compasses in the presence of extraordinarily weak, RF EM ‘noise’” in the 20 kHz-5 MHz frequency range (includes AM radio frequencies). See coverage of Nature, Science, and the Washington Post —and this comment from DARPA.

August 6, 2013

“A Sense of Mystery: Researchers from various disciplines are homing in on the mechanics of magnetoreception, an enigmatic sense that some animals use to navigate the globe.” The Scientist, August 1, 2013.

“Most researchers in the field agree that the compass sense is likely seated in cryptochromes within the eye, and many are convinced that there is another sense, most likely a signpost sense, passed through the trigeminal nerve and probably based on some sort of iron-containing, magnetism-sensing cells in beaks or snouts. Then there is [David] Dickman and [Le-Qing] Wu’s idea: that both of these abilities may rely on receptors in the inner ear.”

February 14, 2013

posted online February 7, 2013. "These results provide the first empirical evidence of geomagnetic imprinting in any species …"

June 28, 2011

Birds do it, butterflies do it, and now we learn that people may do it too. A group at the University of Massachusetts Medical School led by neurobiologist Steven Reppert reports that humans can sense the Earth's magnetic field. The finding prompts the team to suggest "a reassessment of human magnetosensivitiy may be in order." Check out the story...

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