Evolutionary Genetics of Primate Color Vision

Recent Progress and Potential Limits to Knowledge
  • Wen-Hsiung Li
  • Stephane Boissinot
  • Ying Tan
  • Song-Kun Shyue
  • David Hewett-Emmett
Part of the Evolutionary Biology book series (EBIO, volume 32)


Color vision has intrigued philosophers and scientists since Plato. It is truly a multidisciplinary subject involving physics, psychology, neuroscience, ophthalmology, genetics, evolution, molecular Biology, biochemistry, and so forth. While past progress was made mainly from studies in physics, psychology, and vision science, recent progress has been mainly due to the advent of molecular and biochemical techniques such as gene cloning, DNA sequencing, site-directed mutagenesis, and biochemical assays of pigment proteins. Thanks to new techniques and traditional means, we now have a much better knowledge of the various genetic systems of color vision in primates, the origins and evolution of these systems, and the critical amino acid residues responsible for spectral sensitivity differences among primate photopigments. These topics will be reviewed in this chapter. In addition, we shall discuss the role of natural selection in the evolution of primate color vision systems and also how gene conversion has greatly complicated the inference of the evolutionary history of the systems. We intend to show that primate color vision provides an excellent example of how misconceptions in a subject can be corrected and dramatic progress made by developing new approaches or collecting new data.


Gene Conversion Color Vision Howler Monkey Opsin Gene Gene Conversion Event 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wen-Hsiung Li
    • 1
  • Stephane Boissinot
    • 2
  • Ying Tan
    • 3
  • Song-Kun Shyue
    • 4
  • David Hewett-Emmett
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Ecology and EvolutionUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Biology, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney DiseasesNational Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA
  3. 3.Human Genetics CenterUniversity of TexasHoustonUSA
  4. 4.Institute of Biomedical SciencesAcademia SinicaTaipeiTaiwan

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