Colorblind monkeys see new light

Gene therapy has successfully given colorblind adult monkeys the ability to see red and green, according to a study published this week in Nature, demonstrating a striking plasticity in the adult visual system and providing new hope for treating vision disorders that until now were thought to be incurable in adults. Monkey taking color vision testImage: Neitz Laboratory"The surprise is that you can do it with an adult animal," said neuroscientist linkurl:Jerry Jacobs;http://www.psych.ucsb.edu/

Jef Akst
Jef Akst

Jef Akst is managing editor of The Scientist, where she started as an intern in 2009 after receiving a master’s degree from Indiana University in April 2009 studying the mating behavior of seahorses.

View full profile.


Learn about our editorial policies.

Sep 15, 2009
Gene therapy has successfully given colorblind adult monkeys the ability to see red and green, according to a study published this week in Nature, demonstrating a striking plasticity in the adult visual system and providing new hope for treating vision disorders that until now were thought to be incurable in adults.
Monkey taking color vision test
Image: Neitz Laboratory
"The surprise is that you can do it with an adult animal," said neuroscientist linkurl:Jerry Jacobs;http://www.psych.ucsb.edu/people/faculty/jacobs/index.php of the University of California, Santa Barbara, who was not involved in the work. "It's another [piece of] evidence that the visual system is incredibly plastic [and] provides a practical potential for using gene therapy as a way of ameliorating color defects." Red-green colorblindness is a condition that affects nearly 10 million American men, and a number of women as well. It is caused by the absence of either long (L)- or medium (M)-...




Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?