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More specifically, he has produced S-cones, which are photoreceptor prototypes that are found in the most primitive organisms.
People and other animals perceive colors by blending and comparing signals from a few types of eye cells called photoreceptors.
Using a virus that delivers a photoreceptor gene from green algae called channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2), Pan found that ChR2 made the inner retinal neurons become light sensitive, and that it persisted for long periods in the neurons, ultimately leading to restored responses to light in the visual cortex of the brain.
It was concluded that the preserved photoreceptor layer is associated with a higher and better corrected visual acuity compared with granulated photoreceptor layer.
Using a previously described mouse model of low-level gestational lead exposure, the researchers set out to test the hypothesis that such exposure selectively increases rod photoreceptors and bipolar cells in the rod signaling pathway.
A research study is showing promise that adult stem cells within the retina can be chemically induced to regenerate photoreceptors and restore vision in people suffering from conditions such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and retinitis pigmentosa (RP).
Humans have trouble seeing colors in low-light conditions because our rods--the kind of photoreceptor sensitive to dim light--see in black and white.
The patent covers the use of astaxanthin as a dietary supplement for amelioration of free radical- and light-induced retinal damage, age-related macular degeneration, photoreceptor cell retinal damage and damage to neurons of inner retinal layers, among other claims.
Topics addressed include photoreceptor membrane conductance, how the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) regenerates 11-cis retinal, photoreceptor adaptation to various levels of illumination and the biochemical basis of this phenomenon as well as its psychophysical consequences, how the retina develops into its final structure, how signals are processed in the retinal synaptic layers, and how changes in the retina and RPE influence normal aging.
Critics of Intelligent Design claim that the vertebrate eye shows poor design, compared to the octopus eye, because light in the former must pass through ganglion cells before reaching the photoreceptor cells at the back of the retina, whereas the latter has photoreceptors at the front of the retina, directly in the light path.
The mice treated had photoreceptor loss, which damages the retina.