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Nature. 1994 Feb 17;367(6464):637-9.

Target recognition and visual maps in the thalamus of achiasmatic dogs.

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Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, University of Tennessee School of Medicine, Memphis 38163.


Vision is dependent on ordered neuronal representations or maps of visual space. These maps depend on precise connections between retinal axons and their targets cells. In mammals, nerve fibres from right and left eyes produce congruent maps of contralateral visual space in adjacent layers of the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN). We have identified an autosomal recessive mutation in Belgian sheepdogs that eliminates the optic chiasm. In these mutants, all retinal axons project into the ipsilateral optic tract, including those originating in the nasal hemiretina that normally cross midline. These animals exhibit a pronounced horizontal nystagmus. The abnormal ipsilaterally directed nasal fibres innervate the LGN as if they had successfully crossed the midline, terminating in the appropriate layer of the nucleus. As a consequence, the LGN contains non-congruent, mirror-image maps of visual space in adjacent layers. These results show that there is a robust affinity between nasal and temporal retinal axons and specific LGN layers even when all retinal axons originate from a single eye.

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