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PLoS One. 2013 Apr 16;8(4):e61422. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0061422. Print 2013.

Central and peripheral retina arise through distinct developmental paths.

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  • 1Department of Neurosurgery, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California, United States of America.


In the mature eye, three distinct tissue fates, retina, ciliary body, and iris, arrange with a strict linear organization along the central (back) to peripheral (front) axis. The establishment of this topographical relationship within the optic vesicle is not well understood. We use a targeted vital labeling strategy to test the derivation of mature eye tissues from the optic vesicle of the chick embryo. Fate mapping uncovers two distinct origins of the neural retina. Contrary to expectations, the central neural retina has a discrete origin within the posterior optic vesicle. The peripheral retina derives from the distal optic vesicle, sharing a common origin with more peripheral tissue fates. This study identifies for the first time two distinct retinal sub-domains, central and peripheral, which arise during embryogenesis. Identification of these discrete retinal compartments provides a framework for understanding functional and disease processes throughout retinal tissue.

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