Evolution of Vision
The vertebrate retina first evolved more than 500 million years ago in the early Cambrian. From here, all sighted vertebrates inherited an essentially conserved overall blueprint comprised of 5 neuron classes, arranged into 2 synaptic and three nuclear layers. However, different vertebrate eyes are used in vastly different context, meaning that the circuits inside each animal’s retina have diversified to serve species-specific vision. In addition to out main work on zebrafish, we therefore study retinal structure and functions in diverse non-model vertebrates. Building on the nuanced circuit understanding of retinal functions in mammals, as well as considerations of species-specific visual ecology, this will allow probing the functional evolution of neural circuits in the immediate context of their behavioural purpose.
Evolutionary history of the vertebrate eye and retina
Main people involved in evolution of vision work
Paul A Roberts
Adult zebrafish retina