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Topography of ganglion cells and photoreceptors in the retina of a New World monkey: The marmoset Callithrix jacchus

  • Heath D. Wilder (a1), Ulrike Grünert (a1) (a2), Barry B. Lee (a3) and Paul R. Martin (a1)


We studied the anatomical substrates of spatial vision in a New World monkey, the marmoset Callithrix jacchus. This species has good visual acuity and a foveal specialization which is qualitatively similar to that of humans and other Old World primates.We measured the spatial density of retinal ganglion cells and photoreceptors, and calculated the relative numbers of these cell populations. We find that ganglion cells outnumber photoreceptors by between 2.4:1 and 4.2:1 in the fovea. The peak sampling density of ganglion cells is close to 550,000 cells/mm2. This value falls by almost 1000-fold between the fovea and peripheral retina; a value which approaches recent estimates of the centroperipheral ganglion cell gradient for human and macaque monkey retina and primary visual cortex. The marmoset shows a sex-linked polymorphism of color vision: all male and some female marmosets are dichromats. Six of the retinas used in the present study came from animals whose chromatic phenotype was identified in electrophysiological experiments and confirmed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of cone opsin encoding genes. One animal was a trichromat and the others were dichromats. Antibodies against short wavelength-sensitive (SWS) cones labeled close to 8% of all cones near the fovea of onedichromat animal, consistent with electrophysiological evidence that the SWS system is present inall marmosets. The topography and spatial density of cone photoreceptors and ganglion cells was similar to that reported for macaque retina, and we found no obvious difference between dichromatic and trichromatic marmoset retinas. These results reinforce the view that the main determinate of primate foveal topography is the requirement for maximal spatial resolution.



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Topography of ganglion cells and photoreceptors in the retina of a New World monkey: The marmoset Callithrix jacchus

  • Heath D. Wilder (a1), Ulrike Grünert (a1) (a2), Barry B. Lee (a3) and Paul R. Martin (a1)


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