Linked Regularities in the Development and Number of Retinal Cells in New World Primates
Studer, Melanie L.
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The developmental mechanisms that produce the primate eye must use cellular mechanisms to solve the functional challenges of spatial resolution and pattern detection within the bounds of the general vertebrate body plan. It has been found that general eye size and morphology are predictable from whole body size, and the neuronal constituents of the eye are very predictable from brain size, but both are modifiable to suit particular visual niches (eg. night, twilight and day). The goal of this research was to gather comparative information on scaling and niche-specific adaptations of primate eyes in order to locate deviations from such predictions. Data was compiled on the number and distribution of rods, cones, rod bipolars, and M- and P- retinal ganglion cells in New World primates. Future research may provide clues as to how alterations in developmental programs produce deviations, and thus how~primate development changes to produce primate evolution.