Retinotectal Specificity in Adult Goldfish

  • S. C. Sharma
Part of the NATO Advanced Study Institutes Series book series (NSSA, volume 1)


The concept of neuronal specificity has evolved historically around the possible developmental mechanisms of the nervous system, in particular the formation of nerve circuits (Sperry, 1951, 1965; Gaze, 1970; Jacobson, 1970). The most widely held view of the mechanism of selective connexions between nerve fibres is Sperry1s hypothesis of neuronal chemoaffinity. This states that during development the cells of the retina and optic tectum acquire individual cytochemical properties, that those neurons with like or matching cytochemical specificities become linked together, and that synaptic connexions are thus formed in a topographical order. Sperry (1945, 1951) further suggested that the cytochemical labelling of individual neurons is achieved through a polarized field type of differentiation of the retina and the optic tectum separately along the two main embryonic axes. Evidence supporting the polarized field type of specification of retinal neurons came from behavioural study of animals whose eye cup had been rotated 180° at various stages of development (Stone, 1944, 1960; Székély, 1954). These experiments on amphibians showed that the animal acquires the nasotemporal axis of its eye before it is specified along the dorsoventral axis and the results have been confirmed electrophysiologicaly (Jacobson, 1967, 1968).


Optic Nerve Optic Tectum Dorsoventral Axis Optic Nerve Fiber Visual Projection 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. C. Sharma
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of OphthalmologyNew York Medical CollegeNew YorkUSA

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