Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Proc Biol Sci. 1996 Jun 22;263(1371):705-10.

Mutations in S-cone pigment genes and the absence of colour vision in two species of nocturnal primate.

Author information

Department of Psychology, University of California, Santa Barbara 93106, USA.


Most primates have short-wavelength sensitive (S) cones and one or more types of cone maximally sensitive in the middle to long wavelengths (M/L cones). These multiple cone types provide the basis for colour vision. Earlier experiments established that two species of noctural primate, the owl monkey (Aotus trivirgatus) and the bushbaby (Otolemur crassicaudatus), lack a viable population of S cones. Because the retinas of these species have only a single type of M/L cone, they lack colour vision. Both of these species have an S-cone pigment gene that is highly homologous to the human S-cone pigment gene. Examination of the nucleotide sequences of the S-cone pigment genes reveals that each species has deleterious mutational changes: in comparison to the sequence for the corresponding region of the human gene, exon 4 of the bushbaby S-cone pigment gene has a two nucleotide deletion and a single nucleotide insertion that produces a frame shift and results in the introduction of a stop codon. Exon 1 of the owl monkey S-cone pigment gene likewise contains deletions and insertions that produce a stop codon. The absence of colour vision in both of these nocturnal primates can thus be traced to defects in their S-cone pigment genes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Support Center