Monkey See, Monkey Color!

This is a pingback from last week’s Neury Thursday’s “Monkey See, Monkey Do”  post that mapped various neuromodulatory systems tied to the integration of vision and motor skills. Also last week, UWash researchers employed gene therapy to treat color blindness in squirrel monkeys. Unlike humans, primates possess two opsins, which prevents them from having normal, trichromatic color vision found in humans and subsequently, from viewing the eye in the image below (adopted from Neitz’s laboratory at UWash whose spectacular findings were published in Nature).

Humans with normal color vision can see the eye

Eventually, I imagine this novel research will also serve as a mediator in an assiduous debate over the importance of olfaction throughout human evolution; many olfactionists (i.e. smell researchers) theorize that olfaction became less valuable throughout the evolutionary history of primates and humans because of the development of color vision. Now we have an ideal model for testing this hypothesis/declaration.

Here is a BBC video of a gene-juiced squirrel monkey executing one of Neitz’s tests designed to study this scientific revolution. Color on!


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