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

Related key publications

Yoshimatsu T§, Schroeder C, Nevala NE, Berens P, Baden T§. (2020). Fovea-like Photoreceptor Specializations Underlies Single UV Cone Driven Prey-Capture Behaviour in Zebrafish. Neuron (107):1-18. direct link. (bioRxiv version)pdf. Primer by Westo and Ala-Laurila.

Nevala NE§ and Baden T§. (2019). A low-cost hyperspectral scanner for natural imaging above and under water. Scientific Reports (9) 10799. (biorXiv version). direct link. pdf.

Baden T*, Schubert T*, Chang L, Wei T, Zaichuk M, Wissinger B and Euler T§. (2013). A Tale of Two Retinal Domains: Near Optimal Sampling of Achromatic Contrasts in Natural Scenes Through Asymmetric Photoreceptor Distribution. Neuron 80: 1206-1217. pdf Supplementary [1].

 

Reviews

Baden T§, Euler T, Berens P. (2020). Understanding the retinal basis of vision across species. Nature Reviews Neuroscience doi:10.1038/s41583-019-0242-1. direct linkpdf.

Baden T§. (2020). Editorial for special issue on “Vertebrate Vision: Lessons from Non-Model Species”. Sem Cell Dev Biol. https://doi..org/10.1016/j.semcdb.2020.05.028. direct link. pdf. (The full special issue, including all 13 reviews, can be accessed –> here <–)

Baden T§ and Osorio D§. (2019). The Retinal Basis of Vertebrate Color Vision. Annual Review of Vision Science (5). (preprints.org version). direct link. pdf. F1000 recommendation by G Fain.

Seifert M§, Baden T, Osorio D. (2020). The Retinal Basis of Vision in Chicken. Sem Cell Dev Biol. direct link. (preprints.org version).  pdf.

 

Main people involved in evolution of vision work

Marvin Seifert

Marvin Seifert

Avian retina

Georgios Kafetzis

Georgios Kafetzis

Elasmobranch retina

Paul A Roberts

Paul A Roberts

Adult zebrafish retina

Noora E Nevala

Noora E Nevala

Natural Imaging/ Behaviour

Naomi Green

Naomi Green

Behaviour