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Nature. 2006 Oct 12;443(7112):649.

An accessory chromophore in red vision.

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  • 1Department of Ophthalmology, Massachusetts Eye & Ear Infirmary, Boston, Massachusetts 02114, USA.


In the absence of a red-sensitive visual pigment, some deep-sea fish use a chlorophyll derivative in their green-sensitive rod cells in order to see deep-red light. Here we show that living rods extracted from a salamander can also accumulate an exogenous chlorophyll derivative, chlorin e6, that renders them as sensitive to red light as they are to green. This vision enhancement by an unbleachable chlorophyll derivative might therefore be a general phenomenon in vertebrate photoreception.

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