Saturday, February 22, 2014

New discovery in Drosophila color vision

In the December 2013 issue of Current Biology Schnaitmann et al. discovered that Drosophila color vision functions differently than originally thought.  Drosophila have 8 long-wavelength-sensitive receptors, called R1-8, that play a role in vision. Previous studies equated Drosophila color vision to that of humans; where R1-6 functioned in achromatic vision similar to human rods, and R1-8 functioned in chromatic vision similar to human cones. The authors found, however, that R1-6 also contribute to color vision. This implies that fly color vision is more efficient than previously thought. The authors also suggest that flies have a conserved insect color vision system, and this new discovery will inform the understanding of vision in bees and other insects.

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