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Neuron. 2005 May 5;46(3):357-9.

Retinal coding of visual scenes -- repetitive and redundant too?

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Department of Physics, James H. Clark Center for Biomedical Engineering and Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA.


Visual information reaches the brain by way of a fine cable, the optic nerve. The million or so axons in the optic nerve represent an information bottleneck in the visual pathway-where the fewest number of neurons convey the visual scene. It has long been thought that to make the most of the optic nerve's limited capacity the retina may encode visual information in an optimally efficient manner. In this issue of Neuron, Puchalla et al. report a test of this hypothesis using multielectrode recordings from retinal ganglion cells stimulated with movies of natural scenes. The authors find substantial redundancy in the retinal code and estimate that there is an approximately 10-fold overrepresentation of visual information.

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