Binocular vision gene identified

November 1, 2007

Researchers have identified the gene responsible for binocular vision.

Researchers have identified the gene responsible for binocular vision, according to a report published in the September issue of the Public Library of Science Biology.

Research conducted by Catherine Leamey from the Bosch Institute and School of Medical Sciences, Sydney, Australia and colleagues in the USA and Germany has found that a novel gene is necessary for binocular vision, allowing us to perceive depth and carry out detailed visual processing. It was discovered that the genes Ten_m3 and Bcl6 have a key role in the early development of brain pathways for vision and touch.

The gene Ten_m3, seems to be essential in order for the brain to make sense of disparate images from each eye. Projections were mismatched in the brains of mice without the gene and, because each eye's projection suppresses the other, the mice were essentially blind, despite their eyes working normally. When the output of one eye was blocked at a molecular level, the mice could see again, though only with monocular vision.

The authors of the study believe that the gene plays a critical role in visual conditions in which, by simply closing one eye, a patient is able to see better.