The Genes Behind Vision's Palette

By Miller, Julie Ann | Science News, April 19, 1986 | Go to article overview

The Genes Behind Vision's Palette


Miller, Julie Ann, Science News


The genes behind vision's palette

The human brain visualizes the world as a mixture of three primary colors, sensed by pigmented cells in the eye. This view of color vision evolved over centuries of investigation, but has now for the first time been directly demonstrated. Genes that correspond to the red, green and blue color-vision pigments have been identified by Jeremy Nathans, Darcy Thomas and David S. Hogness of Stanford University. Unexpected aspects of their findings give clues to how color vision evolved and may still be evolving.

Tests on color-blind subjects provided critical information in the identification of the pigment genes. Color blindness is caused by the absence of a normal copy of one of these genes, the scientists have demonstrated in collaboration with Thomas P. Piantanida of S.R.I. International in Menlo Park, Calif., and researchers at Roswell Park Memorial Institute in Buffalo, N.Y. Furthermore, they traced a common condition of slightly altered color vision to the presence of an abnormal pigment gene. The brains of people with this condition portray colors as if they were using a slightly different set of paints.

"Through the application of modern recombinant DNA techniques and the analysis of genetic variants, a problem as old as the human effort to understand the real world has been brought to a higher, and most satisfactory, level of understanding," says David Botstein of Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the April 11 SCIENCE in an essay accompanying the color-vision research reports.

The key to the research success was the prediction that all the eye's pigment genes would have similarities due to a common evolutionary origin. Because one single-stranded DNA will bind to another resembling its complementary strand, an isolated gene can be used to search for related DNA sequences.

Nathans and his colleagues first used a gene that had already been identified as that of the bovine visual pigment called rhodopsin. With it they located the gene for the corresponding human pigment, which is used for vision in dim light but not for color vision. Then, with this human rhodopsin gene, they were able to identify three similar DNA sequences. They found the green- and the red-pigment genes on the X chromosome and the blue-pigment gene on the chromosome known as number 7. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

The Genes Behind Vision's Palette
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.