Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Lifeless Cells Ensure Sharp Vision

Date:
April 6, 2009
Source:
Vetenskapsrådet (The Swedish Research Council)
Summary:
Seemingly dead cells perform a surprising task in the lens of a fish eye. Every morning and evening they change the lens’s capacity to refract light in order to enhance color perception during the day and night vision when it’s dark.

Seemingly dead cells perform a surprising task in the lens of a fish eye.  Every morning and evening they change the lens’s capacity to refract light in order to enhance color perception during the day and night vision when it’s dark.  This is shown in new research from Lund University in Sweden.

It was previously known that the lens of the eye largely consists of lifeless cells.  In these cells, the cell nuclei and other structures have been degraded so that all that remains is a solution of proteins.  This clear fluid enables light to pass through the lens to hit the retina and create an image of what is being seen.  This is how the eye functions in humans and other mammals as well.

Now scientists at Lund University have discovered another fascinating dimension of the eye’s lens.  They have shown that the lens in the blue acara, a common aquarium fish, activates some of its lifeless cells every morning and every evening in order to change the concentration of protein in the cell fluid.  The change is hardly measurable, but its effect is of major importance.

“With this strategy, the fish get better color vision during the day and can see better in the dark at night,” says Marcus Schartau, a doctoral candidate in Professor Ronald Kröger’s research team at the Department of Cell and Organism Biology at Lund University.

It is the amount of protein in the lifeless cells that makes the light refract in the right way.  What happens in the morning in the blue acara eye is that the lens adapts the protein concentration so that the lens can focus light of various wave lengths (colors) at one and the same point.  The fish can then see sharp color images.  This is called making the lens multifocal.

In the evening the protein concentration is restored to the same level as before the morning change.  The lens can then only focus a single wavelength on the retina.  The eye thereby loses its ability to create sharp color images, but instead utilizes the wavelengths that are most important for night vision.  This is referred to as making the lens monofocal.

This strategy, switching between the two lens types every day, is something humans lack.  Our monofocal lens is simpler in construction, but thanks to our greater depth of focus, we can still see different colors in daylight.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Vetenskapsrådet (The Swedish Research Council). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Vetenskapsrådet (The Swedish Research Council). "Lifeless Cells Ensure Sharp Vision." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 April 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090325132857.htm>.
Vetenskapsrådet (The Swedish Research Council). (2009, April 6). Lifeless Cells Ensure Sharp Vision. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090325132857.htm
Vetenskapsrådet (The Swedish Research Council). "Lifeless Cells Ensure Sharp Vision." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090325132857.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Cadaver Dogs Aid Search for More Victims of Suspected Indiana Serial Killer

Cadaver Dogs Aid Search for More Victims of Suspected Indiana Serial Killer

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 21, 2014) — Police in Gary, Indiana are using cadaver dogs to search for more victims after a suspected serial killer confessed to killing at least seven women. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Unveiled to the Public

White Lion Cubs Unveiled to the Public

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 21, 2014) — Visitors to Belgrade zoo meet a pair of three-week-old lion cubs for the first time. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) — Where's a body buried? Buster's nose can often tell you. He's a cadaver dog, specially trained to find human remains and increasingly being used by law enforcement and accepted in courts. These dogs are helping solve even decades-old mysteries. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) — Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins