CPS Seminar Speaker Gerald Jacobs SEA 4.244

Contact Name: 
Jenna Whitney
Nov 6, 2006 12:00pm - 1:15pm

Speaker/Affiliation: Gerald H. Jacobs Ph.D. Prof

essor University of California Santa Barbara Department of Psychology

When/Location: 11/6/2006 12:00 PM SEA 4.244

Title of Talk: Co

ne pigments and the evolution of primate color vision

Reception with
Refreshments at 11:30 AM

Abstract: Among eutherian mammals acute tr

ichromatic color vision appears only in some of the primate lineages. Over
the past two decades significant efforts have been expended to try and und

erstand why this should be so. The proximate reasons are nested in the evo

lution of cone photopigment opsin genes and in the construction of the prim

ate retina. A reasonably detailed picture of the former has emerged allow

ing in turn a relatively complete account of the distribution and nature of
color vision across the order. This work reveals dramatic variations in co

lor vision among the primates. The question of why primates have been able
to evolve good color vision and why such variations in the capacity exist
has driven current researchers to attempt much more pressing examinations
of the utility of primate color vision. Rather less has been accomplished
on the second issue. Although retinal specialists share general agreement
that the midget cell system of the primate retina may be key to understand

ing why it has been possible for primates to add a new dimension of color v

ision there is not much in the way of real tests of this idea. One possib

le approach is to try and engineer novel color vision by adding a new photo

pigment to the retinal complement of an animal that does not have a midget

cell system.