Inherited colour vision deficiencies--from Dalton to molecular genetics
Cvetkovic D, Cvetkovic D.
Srp Arh Celok Lek. 2005 Nov-Dec;133(11-12):521-7.


In recent years, great advances have been made in our understanding of the molecular basis of colour vision defects, as well as of the patterns of genetic variation in individuals with normal colour vision. Molecular genetic analyses have explained the diversity of types and degrees of severity in colour vision anomalies, their frequencies, pronounced individual variations in test results, etc. New techniques have even enabled the determination of John Dalton's real colour vision defect, 150 years after his death. Inherited colour vision deficiencies most often result from the mutations of genes that encode cone opsins. Cone opsin genes are linked to chromosomes 7 (the S or "blue" gene) and X (the L or "red" gene and the M or "green" gene). The L and M genes are located on the q arm of the X chromosome in a head-to-tail array, composed of 2 to 6 (typically 3) genes--a single L is followed by one or more M genes. Only the first two genes of the array are expressed and contribute to the colour vision phenotype. The high degree of homology (96%) between the L and M genes predisposes them to unequal recombination, leading to gene deletion or the formation of hybrid genes (comprising portions of both the L and M genes), explaining the majority of the common red-green colour vision deficiencies. The severity of any deficiency is influenced by the difference in spectral sensitivity between the opsins encoded by the first two genes of the array. A rare defect, S monochromacy, is caused either by the deletion of the regulatory region of the array or by mutations that inactivate the L and M genes. Most recent research concerns the molecular basis of complete achromatopsia, a rare disorder that involves the complete loss of all cone function. This is not caused by mutations in opsin genes, but in other genes that encode cone-specific proteins, e.g. channel proteins and transducin.
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