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Amazing retina explains birds` unparalleled vision

The avian retina is far more complex in structure and composition than the human retina.



Washington: Our feathered friends have something that human’s lack -- an extraordinarily sharp and powerful vision.

The avian retina is far more complex in structure and composition than the human retina, reports the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

It contains many more photoreceptors -- cells that detect light and colour.

The birds must spot their dinner from dizzying heights where human sized objects look like small dots and dive-bomb those moving targets at lightning speed, according to the University of Hamburg.

For Thorsten Burmester`s team at the University of Hamburg, the question was: How does such a productive retina sustain itself when the avian eye has very few capillaries to deliver oxygen to it?

Burmester`s team took a closer look at a protein they discovered exists in large quantities in photoreceptor cells of the avian eye -- and only of the avian eye.

They named the protein globin E.

Burmester`s team found that globin E is responsible for storing and delivering oxygen to the retina. It explains how birds evolved to have such large eyes, relative to their body mass.
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