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Vis Neurosci. 2014 Mar;31(2):153-63. doi: 10.1017/S0952523813000308. Epub 2013 Sep 9.

Processing of S-cone signals in the inner plexiform layer of the mammalian retina.

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  • 1National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.
  • 2Department of Ophthalmology and Save Sight Institute, The University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.


Color information is encoded by two parallel pathways in the mammalian retina. One pathway compares signals from long- and middle-wavelength sensitive cones and generates red-green opponency. The other compares signals from short- and middle-/long-wavelength sensitive cones and generates blue-green (yellow) opponency. Whereas both pathways operate in trichromatic primates (including humans), the fundamental, phylogenetically ancient color mechanism shared among most mammals is blue-green opponency. In this review, we summarize the current understanding of how signals from short-wavelength sensitive cones are processed in the primate and nonprimate mammalian retina, with a focus on the inner plexiform layer where bipolar, amacrine, and ganglion cell processes interact to facilitate the generation of blue-green opponency.

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