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Nat Commun. 2018 Feb 23;9(1):802. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-03090-6.

Zebrafish and medaka offer insights into the neurobehavioral correlates of vertebrate magnetoreception.

Author information

1
Institute of Biological and Medical Imaging, Helmholtz Zentrum München, Ingolstädter Landstrasse 1, 85764, Neuherberg, Germany.
2
Institute of Developmental Genetics, Helmholtz Zentrum München, Ingolstädter Landstrasse 1, 85764, Neuherberg, Germany.
3
Department of Nuclear Medicine, Technical University of Munich, Ismaninger Strasse 22, 81675, Munich, Germany.
4
Department of Earth- and Environmental Sciences Section Geophysics, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Theresienstrasse 41, 80333, Munich, Germany.
5
Institute of Zoology 220, University of Hohenheim, 70593, Stuttgart, Germany.
6
Institute for Biology and Environmental Sciences IBU, Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg, Carl-von-Ossietzky-Strasse 9-11, 26129, Oldenburg, Germany.
7
Research Center Neurosensory Science, Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg, Oldenburg, D-26111, Germany.
8
Institute of Biological and Medical Imaging, Helmholtz Zentrum München, Ingolstädter Landstrasse 1, 85764, Neuherberg, Germany. gil.westmeyer@tum.de.
9
Institute of Developmental Genetics, Helmholtz Zentrum München, Ingolstädter Landstrasse 1, 85764, Neuherberg, Germany. gil.westmeyer@tum.de.
10
Department of Nuclear Medicine, Technical University of Munich, Ismaninger Strasse 22, 81675, Munich, Germany. gil.westmeyer@tum.de.

Abstract

An impediment to a mechanistic understanding of how some species sense the geomagnetic field ("magnetoreception") is the lack of vertebrate genetic models that exhibit well-characterized magnetoreceptive behavior and are amenable to whole-brain analysis. We investigated the genetic model organisms zebrafish and medaka, whose young stages are transparent and optically accessible. In an unfamiliar environment, adult fish orient according to the directional change of a magnetic field even in darkness. To enable experiments also in juveniles, we applied slowly oscillating magnetic fields, aimed at generating conflicting sensory inputs during exploratory behavior. Medaka (but not zebrafish) increase their locomotor activity in this assay. Complementary brain  activity mapping reveals neuronal activation in the lateral hindbrain during magnetic stimulation. These comparative data support magnetoreception in teleosts, provide evidence for a light-independent mechanism, and demonstrate the usefulness of zebrafish and medaka as genetic vertebrate models for studying the biophysical and neuronal mechanisms underlying magnetoreception.

PMID:
29476093
PMCID:
PMC5824813
DOI:
10.1038/s41467-018-03090-6
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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