Claude Desplan, PhD Silver Professor of Biology, New York University
Our laboratory focuses on two major developmental questions: The evolution of early embryonic development and the establishment of retinal and brain circuitry that underlies color vision.
Color vision is achieved through the comparison in the brain of inputs coming from photoreceptors containing photopigments (rhodopsins) with different wavelength specificity.
Different rhodopsins are expressed in stochastic but mutually exclusive patterns in the compound eye of Drosophila as in cones of the vertebrate retina. This implies that there is a process for choosing a given rhodopsin gene and to transcriptionally repress all others. From this choice, another mechanism must then inform the brain of its connection to a photoreceptor with a specific color sensitivity.
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