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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.

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1
Department of Psychology, University of California, Santa Barbara 93106, USA.

Abstract

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.

PMID:
8763792
DOI:
10.1098/rspb.1996.0105
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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