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Scientists map the eye's neural network for the first time

Scientists map the eye's neural network for the first time

Posting in Technology

How we see color has always been a little mysterious. Scientists figured out the circuitry behind the signals that give us color vision.

The world around you might look really pretty and colorful, but just how we perceive that color hasn't always been so clear. The moment the light hits your eyes from the sun, cells in your retina can transmit the signals to your brain.

Curious to examine the circuitry behind the the neural network, researchers mapped color vision with a recording device.

The retina is made of a layer of neural tissue with input cells, processing cells and output cells. Its input cells (photoreceptors) can take in light and distinguish the wavelength in such a way we can see in color.

University of Glasgow created a 519-electrode array to record the speedy neural signals in great spacial detail, the news release said.

By measuring the retinal output signals of hundreds of thousands of cells, it was clear how the types of cells in the retina created a color image.

The breakthrough study showed how the cells receive light and transmit that information to the brain. The study was published in the journal Nature. For the first time, the scientists saw how cone receptor cells are connected to the ganglion cells.

The Glasgow researcher, Keith Mathieson, now at the University of California Santa Cruz and Stanford University said, “To develop new therapies for vision-related problems it is necessary to fully understand how the retina works. This research gives us a much greater insight into the circuitry of the retina and is an important development for neuroscience.”

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Boonsri Dickinson

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Boonsri Dickinson is a freelance journalist based in San Francisco. She has written for Discover, The Huffington Post, Forbes, Nature Biotech,, and AOL. She's currently a reporter for Business Insider. She holds degrees from the University of Florida and the University of Colorado at Boulder. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure