o The Frog Blog: Gene Therapy Cures Monkeys of Colour Blindness

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Gene Therapy Cures Monkeys of Colour Blindness


Female squirrel monkeys can see in colour, but male squirrel monkeys are normally red-green colourblind because they lack pigments in the retina that detect those wavelengths of light. Now, researchers have performed gene therapy that allowed two adult male squirrel monkeys named Sam and Dalton to produce proteins that detect red light. As soon as the red-light-harvesting protein was made in the monkeys' eyes, the animals were able to discriminate between red and green spots in colour vision tests. The achievement is causing a stir among vision scientists and may have implications for understanding the evolution of colour vision. One in every six human males are colourblind, and this research may also lead to a possible cure in the future, although the scientists were quick to outline that this procedure may not work in humans.


Above is a simple colourblind test anyone can use. If you see the number 45, then your vision is normal. Colourblind individuals will just see random spots of colour.

No comments: