The Biology of Variations in Mammalian Color Vision

  • Gerald H. Jacobs
Part of the Research and Perspectives in Neurosciences book series (NEUROSCIENCE)

Although the idea clearly has a long history, the nineteenth-century English naturalist John Lubbock was among the first to provide a compelling experimental demonstration that the visual worlds of other animals can be distinctly different from those experienced by humans. Over the years since that time, an immense body of literature has been accumulated that details how these differences arise. We now know that the vast majority of all vertebrates possess some capacity for color vision—the ability to disambiguate variations in the wavelength and in the intensity of light across the visual scene. The past three decades have witnessed striking progress in our understanding of how color vision works. Key to this progress has been the detailing of the linkages between opsin genes, photopig-ments, and color vision. This chapter summarizes this work, focusing particular on the issue of primate color vision. In addition to helping reveal the machinery and evolution of color vision variation, this line of research also provides insights into the real-world utility of color vision.


Color Vision Colour Vision Opsin Gene Cone Pigment Catarrhine Primate 
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-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Neuroscience Research InstituteUniversity of CaliforniaSanta BarbaraUSA

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