The Causation and Cure for Colorblindness


Being colorblind is more difficult than most people believe as those affected often cannot match clothing colors, tell when fruit is ripe, tell when meat is cooked, or tell when traffic lights are various colors in certain lighting conditions (e.g. flashing red being mistaken for flashing yellow). Color vision is trichromatic with 3 types of cone cells within the eyes which consist of blue, green, and red, which are sensitive to short, medium, and long wavelengths of light, with each cone permitting an observer to view approximately 100 different shades. When all shades are combined, the human eye can observe approximately 1,000,000 (1 million) different colors. Colorblindness can stem from faulty cone cells or an interruption between the pathway of the cones and the brain. Colorblindness has caused vehicular deaths due to accidents around the world which have occurred most often because a driver perceived a light as yellow when it was red in reality. Neuroscientist Professor Jay Neitz (pronounced “nites”), a color researcher at the University of Washington in the U.S. and his spouse, geneticist Maureen Neitz, have teamed up to try and cure colorblindness. Gene therapy is currently being researched around the world and scientists believe that colorblindness will be cured using gene therapy in the near future. Male squirrel monkeys are naturally red-green colorblind and gene studies have demonstrated that these monkeys can be afforded color vision after having a gene delivered into the cone cells within the eye. The gene produced transforms a subset of the green cones within the male squirrel monkeys eyes to force them to become red cones, red cones which have hijacked the squirrel monkeys neural circuitry which was previously utilized solely for blue-yellow color vision, essentially bifurcating into red-green cones and blue-yellow cones so that the monkeys examined developed full color vision like human beings as of 2019. The Neitz’s confirmed this by providing male squirrel monkeys colorblind examinations which when answered correctly, delivered a small treat of food after having undergone gene therapy. Trials in human beings have yet to start as the Neitz’s believe that this step is still a few years away, but expected to initiate during the 2020’s

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