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Annu Rev Neurosci. 2007;30:1-30.

Information processing in the primate retina: circuitry and coding.

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  • 1The Salk Institute, La Jolla, California 92037, USA. ej@salk.edu

Abstract

The function of any neural circuit is governed by connectivity of neurons in the circuit and the computations performed by the neurons. Recent research on retinal function has substantially advanced understanding in both areas. First, visual information is transmitted to the brain by at least 17 distinct retinal ganglion cell types defined by characteristic morphology, light response properties, and central projections. These findings provide a much more accurate view of the parallel visual pathways emanating from the retina than do previous models, and they highlight the importance of identifying distinct cell types and their connectivity in other neural circuits. Second, encoding of visual information involves significant temporal structure and interactions in the spike trains of retinal neurons. The functional importance of this structure is revealed by computational analysis of encoding and decoding, an approach that may be applicable to understanding the function of other neural circuits.

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