Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Color vision: Explaining primates' red-green vision

Date:
February 11, 2013
Source:
Universitaet Tübingen
Summary:
Retinal neurons sensitize to colors preferred by nearby photo-receptors. Results in mice may explain primates’ red-green vision.

Phillipine tarsier, primate. New findings suggest more similarities in the general principles of color discrimination in mice and primates than previously thought.
Credit: © Olga Khoroshunova / Fotolia

 Our eyes are complicated organs, with the retina in the back of the eyeball comprising hundreds of millions of neurons that allow us to see, and to do so in color. Scientists have long known that some retinal ganglion cells -- neurons connecting the retina to the rest of the brain -- are tuned to specific wave-lengths of light (colors). In humans and other primates they are excited by red and inhibited by green, for example. An important question is: how are these "color-opponent" cells wired to discriminate wavelengths so that we perceive colors?

Scientists in the lab of Thomas Euler, professor at the Werner Reichardt Centre for Integrative Neu-roscience and the Institute for Ophthalmology at the University of Tübingen, have been working on the problem of retinal color processing for several years. Their article in the journal Neuron shows that whether or not ganglion cells become color-opponent depends on the chromatic preference of the light-sensitive photoreceptor cells in the vicinity. The research looked at mice, which have a striking distribution of photoreceptors across their retina, with a green-sensitive upper half and blue-sensitive lower half. This differs from most mammals, yet they are an excellent model system for studying important aspects of mammalian color processing.

Researchers found that when stimulated with light, ganglion cells that have never before been implicated in color vision become color-opponent if they are located close to the border between the green- and the blue-dominated retina halves, but nowhere else. Their findings show that color vision can arise from neural circuits in the retina that are not specifically "wired" for color processing.

Although these findings were made in mice, they represent an important contribution to our understanding of color processing in humans and other primates, which are considered the color specialists among the mammals. Such random wiring has long been proposed for primate red-green color vision, which resulted from a gene duplication event that occurred quite recently on an evolutionary time scale -- possibly leaving not enough time for a specific neural circuit to evolve. The new findings support this idea and suggest more similarities in the general principles of color discrimination in mice and primates than previously thought.

In addition to the financial support from the CIN, the work was made possible by the Research Unit "Dynamics and Stability of Retinal Processing" (FOR701) funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Universitaet Tübingen. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Le Chang, Tobias Breuninger, Thomas Euler. Chromatic Coding from Cone-type Unselective Circuits in the Mouse Retina. Neuron, 2013; 77 (3): 559 DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2012.12.012

Cite This Page:

Universitaet Tübingen. "Color vision: Explaining primates' red-green vision." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 February 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130211110859.htm>.
Universitaet Tübingen. (2013, February 11). Color vision: Explaining primates' red-green vision. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130211110859.htm
Universitaet Tübingen. "Color vision: Explaining primates' red-green vision." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130211110859.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Great British Farmland Boom

The Great British Farmland Boom

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 17, 2014) — Britain's troubled Co-operative Group is preparing to cash in on nearly 18,000 acres of farmland in one of the biggest UK land sales in decades. As Ivor Bennett reports, the market timing couldn't be better, with farmland prices soaring over 270 percent in the last 10 years. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 16, 2014) — Crocodile farming has been a challenge in Zimbabwe in recent years do the economic collapse and the financial crisis. But as Ciara Sutton reports one of Europe's biggest suppliers of skins to the luxury market has come up with an unusual survival strategy - vegetarian food. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) — A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) — A research institute in Paris somehow misplaced more than 2,000 vials of the deadly SARS virus. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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