Some forms of colorblindness may actually afford enhanced perception of some colors, according to findings reported this week in Current Biology by John Mollon and colleagues at the University of Cambridge.
The most common form of colorblindness is an X-chromosome-linked variant form of color vision technically known as deuteranomaly. Colors are detected by humans through the combined action of three different types of so-called cone photoreceptors, each of which is optimally activated by different wavelengths of light. These sensitivities are altered in deuteranomalous colorblind individuals because they possess a variant form of one of the cone photoreceptors--the sensitivity of cones that should be "middle-wave" is shifted toward that of "long-wave" cones, resulting in decreased ability to differentiate between some colors that are easily distinguishable by those with normal color vision. In theory, however, it is possible that owing to the altered sensitivities of their cone photoreceptors, deuteranomalous individuals may be sensitive to color differences that are not apparent to those with normal color vision.
In the new work, researchers tested this idea by asking deuteranomalous and "color-normal" individuals to report whether they were able to distinguish between pairs of colors that were theoretically predicted to look different to deuteranomalous colorblind individuals but to appear the same to those with normal color vision. Indeed, the researchers found that some color pairs were only seen to be different by deuteranomalous individuals. The finding suggests that although these individuals may be blind to some colors accessible by color-normal individuals, they also have a sensitivity to a "color dimension" that is inaccessible to those with normal color vision. In their paper, the researchers remark that "[f]or a color-normal experimenter, it was striking to watch a deuteranamolous subject giving large difference ratings to apparently identical stimuli, and doing so without hesitation."
Heidi Hardman | EurekAlert!
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The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet
22.09.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
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Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
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Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
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