Cryptochrome, a light-sensitive protein present in human eyes has the ability to act as a sensor, detecting magnetic fields and subsequently acting as part of an internal navigation system. There is only one problem, while it is present in human eyes cryptochrome doesn't help humans sense magnetic fields. New research has shown that the human protein can work as part of an internal navigation system, but in fly (Drosophila) eyes.
Researchers from the University of Massachusetts Medical School
and Worcester Polytechnic Institute
have demonstrated that the human cryptochrome protein CRY2
can restore magnetoreceptive ability in Drosophila
individuals whose natural ability to sense magnetic fields has been damaged. Cryptochrome is a common protein, it is present in the eyes of birds, who are known to use their internal knowledge of magnetic fields to guide their flight.