How vision begins

An odyssey

Dong Gen Luo, Tian Xue, King-Wai Yau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Retinal rods and cones, which are the front-end light detectors in the eye, achieve wonders together by being able to signal single-photon absorption and yet also able to adjust their function to brightness changes spanning 10 9-fold. How these cells detect light is now quite well understood. Not surprising for almost any biological process, the intial step of seeing reveals a rich complexity as the probing goes deeper. The odyssey continues, but the knowledge gained so far is already nothing short of remarkable in qualitative and quantitative detail. It has also indirectly opened up the mystery of odorant sensing. Basic science aside, clinical ophthalmology has benefited tremendously from this endeavor as well. This article begins by recapitulating the key developments in this understanding from the mid-1960s to the late 1980s, during which period the advances were particularly rapid and fit for an intricate detective story. It then highlights some details discovered more recently, followed by a comparison between rods and cones.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9855-9862
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume105
Issue number29
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 22 2008

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Vertebrate Photoreceptor Cells
Retinal Cone Photoreceptor Cells
Retinal Rod Photoreceptor Cells
Biological Phenomena
Light
Ophthalmology
Photons
Odorants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • General

Cite this

How vision begins : An odyssey. / Luo, Dong Gen; Xue, Tian; Yau, King-Wai.

In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Vol. 105, No. 29, 22.07.2008, p. 9855-9862.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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