Chickens outperform humans in ability to see colour
Washington: Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found that chicken retina outperforms humans in ability to see colour.
They have mapped five types of light receptors in the chicken's eye. They discovered the receptors were laid out in interwoven mosaics that maximized the chicken's ability to see many colours in any given part of the retina, the light-sensing structure at the back of the eye.
"Based on this analysis, birds have clearly one-upped us in several ways in terms of colour vision," says Joseph C. Corbo, senior author and assistant professor of pathology and immunology and of genetics.
"Colour receptor organization in the chicken retina greatly exceeds that seen in most other retinas and certainly that in most mammalian retinas," he added.
Corbo plans follow-up studies of how this organization is established.
He says such insights could eventually help scientists seeking to use stem cells and other new techniques to treat the nearly 200 genetic disorders that can cause various forms of blindness.