Pisani, Davide and Mohun, Samantha and Harris, Simon and McInerney, James and Wilkinson, Mark
Molecular evidence for dim-light vision in the last common ancestor of the vertebrates.
Current Biology, 16 (9).
Animal vision is mediated through pigments belonging exclusively to the opsin family. These are members of the G-protein-coupled receptor family that bind retinal . Based on function and phylogenetic relationship, vertebrate visual opsins can be clustered in five groups: Rhod photoreceptors (Rh1), Rh1-like (Rh2), Short Wave Sensitive (SWS1), SWS1-like (SWS2), and Long (LWS) or Medium (MWS) Wave Length Sensitive (LWS/MWS). Rh1 is used for seeing under dim light conditions (scotopic vision), while the others permit full colour (photopic) vision in bright light 2, 3, 4 and 5. Opsins have diversified by a series of gene duplications, and the inferred order of these duplications indicates that photopic vision predated scotopic vision in vertebrates 2, 3, 4 and 5.
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