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J Physiol. 1987 Sep;390:145-60.

Spectral sensitivity of cones of the monkey Macaca fascicularis.

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Department of Neurobiology, Stanford University School of Medicine, CA 94305.


1. Spectral sensitivities of cones in the retina of cynomolgus monkeys were determined by recording photocurrents from single outer segments with a suction electrode. 2. The amplitude and shape of the response to a flash depended upon the number of photons absorbed but not the wave-length, so that the 'Principle of Univariance' was obeyed. 3. Spectra were obtained from five 'blue', twenty 'green', and sixteen 'red' cones. The wave-lengths of maximum sensitivity were approximately 430, 531 and 561 nm, respectively. 4. The spectra of the three types of cones had similar shapes when plotted on a log wave number scale, and were fitted by an empirical expression. 5. There was no evidence for the existence of subclasses of cones with different spectral sensitivities. Within a class, the positions of the individual spectra on the wave-length axis showed a standard deviation of less than 1.5 nm. 6. Psychophysical results on human colour matching (Stiles & Burch, 1955; Stiles & Burch, 1959) were well predicted from the spectral sensitivities of the monkey cones. After correction for pre-retinal absorption and pigment self-screening, the spectra of the red and green cones matched the respective pi 5 and pi 4 mechanisms of Stiles (1953, 1959).

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