Document Detail

Elephants and human color-blind deuteranopes have identical sets of visual pigments.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  15781694     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Being the largest land mammals, elephants have very few natural enemies and are active during both day and night. Compared with those of diurnal and nocturnal animals, the eyes of elephants and other arrhythmic species, such as many ungulates and large carnivores, must function in both the bright light of day and dim light of night. Despite their fundamental importance, the roles of photosensitive molecules, visual pigments, in arrhythmic vision are not well understood. Here we report that elephants (Loxodonta africana and Elephas maximus) use RH1, SWS1, and LWS pigments, which are maximally sensitive to 496, 419, and 552 nm, respectively. These light sensitivities are virtually identical to those of certain "color-blind" people who lack MWS pigments, which are maximally sensitive to 530 nm. During the day, therefore, elephants seem to have the dichromatic color vision of deuteranopes. During the night, however, they are likely to use RH1 and SWS1 pigments and detect light at 420-490 nm.
Shozo Yokoyama; Naomi Takenaka; Dalen W Agnew; Jeheskel Shoshani
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.     Date:  2005-03-21
Journal Detail:
Title:  Genetics     Volume:  170     ISSN:  0016-6731     ISO Abbreviation:  Genetics     Publication Date:  2005 May 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2005-05-25     Completed Date:  2006-06-06     Revised Date:  2013-06-09    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0374636     Medline TA:  Genetics     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  335-44     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Biology, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA.
Data Bank Information
Bank Name/Acc. No.:
GENBANK/AY686752;  AY686753;  AY686754
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MeSH Terms
Carnivora / metabolism
Color Vision Defects / genetics*
Elephants / genetics*,  metabolism
Molecular Sequence Data
Retinal Pigments / genetics*,  metabolism
Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
Rod Opsins / genetics
Grant Support
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Retinal Pigments; 0/Rod Opsins

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