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Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2008 Apr;19(2):71-81. Epub 2007 Oct 13.

Eye evolution: lens and cornea as an upgrade of animal visual system.

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Department of Transcriptional Regulation, Institute of Molecular Genetics, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Prague 4, Czech Republic.


Lens-containing eyes are a feature of surprisingly broad spectrum of organisms across the animal kingdom that represent a significant improvement of simple eye composed of just photoreceptor cells and pigment cells. It is apparent that such an upgrade of animal visual system has originated numerous times during evolution since many distinct strategies to enhance light refraction through the use of lens and cornea have been utilized. In addition to having an ancient role in prototypical eye formation Pax transcription factors were convergently recruited for regulation of structurally diverse crystallins and genes affecting morphogenesis of various lens-containing eyes.

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