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Saturday, 6 August 2016

The 'Red gene' in turtles and birds provide evidence about dinosaurs' vision

Image Courtesy: Cambridge University


A gene that is responsible for red colour vision originated in the lineage of reptiles 250million years ago has resulted in bright red coloured feathers and painted beautiful turtles we see today. This might be the evidence that dinosaurs could able to see many shades of reds and might have displayed more red than we think of.

This new research published from University of Cambridge on 3rd of August 2016 at the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society provide enough evidence that the ‘red gene’ has originated  250million years ago. It predicts the split of turtle lineage from archosaur line and runs way through turtle and bird evolution.

Scientists believe that during this dinosaur split they would have carried CYP2J19 gene and had enchanced the red division from the red retinal oil. This is the same red pigment that helps some birds and turtles today although researchers say this to be more speculative.

“These findings are evidence that the red gene originated in the archelosaur lineage to produce red for colour vision, and was much later independently deployed in both birds and turtles to be displayed in the red feathers and shells of some species, going from seeing red to being red,” says senior author Dr Nick Mundy, from the University of Cambridge’s Department of Zoology. 

“The excellent red spectrum vision provided by the CYP2J19 gene would help female birds and turtles pick the brightest red males,” says Hanlu Twyman, the PhD student who is lead author on the work.


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