Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Gene Therapy Cures Color-Blind Monkeys

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the hope-for-uriah dept.

Biotech 197

SpuriousLogic writes "After receiving injections of genes that produce color-detecting proteins, two color-blind monkeys have seen red and green for the first time. Except in its extreme forms, color blindness isn't a debilitating condition, but it's a convenient stand-in for other types of blindness that might be treated with gene therapy. The monkey success raises the possibility of reversing those diseases, in a manner that most scientists considered impossible. 'We said it was possible to give an adult monkey with a model of human red-green color blindness the retina of a person with normal color vision. Every single person I talked to said, absolutely not,' said study co-author Jay Neitz, a University of Washington ophthalmologist. 'And almost every unsolved vision defect out there has this component in one way or another, where the ability to translate light into a gene signal is involved.' The full-spectrum supplementation of the squirrel monkeys' sight, described Wednesday in Nature, comes just less than a year after researchers used gene therapy to restore light perception in people afflicted by Leber Congenital Amaurosis, a rare and untreatable form of blindness."

cancel ×

197 comments

biotech rocks (1)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448637)

nuff' said

Re:biotech rocks (5, Funny)

overbaud (964858) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448677)

Not as much as geology rocks...

Re:biotech rocks (1)

TitusC3v5 (608284) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448987)

Indeed. Now if they could only make this work for humans. One of my X chromosomes has been missing a leg for as long as I can remember. Here's to hoping this research can fix it. :)

Re:biotech rocks (3, Interesting)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449889)

Ditto here. I saw the article at discovery dot com today, and read it. Man, it would be GREAT to get a shot or six, and start seeing all those colors people SAY that they see. I could swear that people are involved in a conspiracy to convince people like me that we're nuts. Purple, lilac, lavender, and a whole lot of others are ALL THE SAME!!

Oddly enough, the little sample color vision chart they stuck in the article? I was able to see the eye in it. Not real clearly, but when I read the tag caption, I was able to see the eye. The real charts just don't work, though.

Re:biotech rocks (1)

LegionKK (1298769) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449085)

Well, the color blindness would certainly be cured if they had removed the monkeys' eyes and replaced them with rocks.

Re:biotech rocks (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449415)

I've been looking for geeky posters to add in my classroom for when I become an elementary/primary school teacher. Aside from a picture of Gandalf with the text "If you do not study, you shall not pass!", I now have another to add to the potential collection of wallgeekery. :3

Re:biotech rocks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29449931)

Not as much as geology rocks...

Don't take it for granite.

Re:biotech rocks (1)

MarkRose (820682) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450011)

I prefer not to know. Igneous is bliss.

Re:biotech rocks (1)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448749)

Just wait! First the monkeys, then the orangutans, the chimps and then the apes.

The World will one day be run by those damn dirty apes and they'll enslave us!

Re:biotech rocks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29448929)

Orangutans and chimpanzees ARE apes.

Re:biotech rocks (1)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449093)

Orangutans and chimpanzees ARE apes.

I DARE you to say that to their faces!

Re:biotech rocks (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29449541)

Orangutans and chimpanzees ARE apes.

I DARE you to say that to their faces!

say it to a nigger instead

Re:biotech rocks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29449109)

The question is, how did they get them to willingly participate in the study? Did they offer them malt liquor or just promise them white women? And then run for the hills when the chimpout ensued?

Re:biotech rocks (1)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448943)

Just wait! First the monkeys, then the orangutans, the chimps and then the apes.
The World will one day be run by those damn dirty apes and they'll enslave us!

Well, so long as they keep their stinking paws off me, I for one welcome our new simian overlords!

Re:biotech rocks (1)

dmbasso (1052166) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448789)

Indeed. It'll be cool when we'll be able to receive some butterfly genes, and see ultraviolet.

Re:biotech rocks (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448899)

I wonder if they could use this gene therapy to give certain color-detecting genes to cats, to give them full color vision. Cats are partially color-blind naturally, so if they could give cats something that none of them are born with, and it works, there's no telling what kind of wacky things they could add onto living humans, like UV vision, fluorescing skin, poison fangs, etc.

Re:biotech rocks (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449663)

It wouldn't necessarily be an advantage. People with colourblindness also often have the secondary effect that they have far better night vision than someone with normal colour vision. I would image it is much the same with cats.

Re:biotech rocks (1)

mackhaX0r (1638945) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449211)

Indeed. It'll be cool when we'll be able to receive some butterfly genes, and see ultraviolet.

That would make most peoples day

Re:biotech rocks (1)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448801)

I'm colour blind myself. (Seriously).

I'm currently looking around for a cheap monkey suit. I have my own supply of bananas.

Re:biotech rocks (1, Interesting)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449035)

I'd wait until they find a way to make it work without injecting the viruses into your eyes. I haven't been following gene therapy or viral transfection, I'm assuming there's still the problem that these viruses still insert their genes into your genome at random, potentially interrupting, say retinoblastoma [wikipedia.org] . I think if that happened you'd be many times more likely to develop the cancer the protein is named after [wikipedia.org] .

Re:biotech rocks (1)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449339)

Yeah, I know. It's just really exciting. I am genuinely colour blind and the possibility of seeing PROPER colours, like everyone else, is really exciting.

Of course ultimately pointless. I can genuinely say my colour blindness has never caused me any problems. It's limited my job choices a couple of times, but that was minor really.

Still, sure would be cool to see stuff properly. I mean grass is green, I know that. But what I see as green is vastly different to what other people see.

Be nice to see what grass really looks like.

Re:biotech rocks (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449827)

...possibility of seeing PROPER colours...

Even more than that, it opens it up for everybody else to see in TRUE color, seeing as how even we color-advantaged folk only see a tiny sliver of the EM spectrum.

Could you imagine being able to see halfway down the IR spectrum, or well past UV on the other end? Things would look very different, that's for sure. Even just a little bump in both directions would be amazing.

Re:biotech rocks (4, Informative)

Miamicanes (730264) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450375)

> Could you imagine being able to see halfway down the IR spectrum, or well past UV on the other end

IR might be do-able, but UV is almost structurally impossible for the human eye to meaningfully view. The spectral peak of "blue" cones is actually closer to violet than blue. If you look at a sensitivity curve for human blue cones, you'll notice that its peak is just slightly above violet, and its lower third is simply chopped off or attenuated away. The problem is the cornea -- it blocks most UV light. What the cornea doesn't block, the fluid inside the eye absorbs and scatters. There have been reports that people who've had cataract surgery are able to perceive UV as hazy, diffuse "purplish-yellow" light. The idea that something can be purple and yellow is strange, but not as crazy as it sounds when you consider that the color we call "purple" is NOTHING like spectral violet, and is actually an artifact of human vision caused by a nonlinear slope in blue sensitivity. There's a tiny area where the upper end of blue overlaps with the lower end of red, with a small ripple in blue that introduces just enough error in that region to make purple possible.

There's another problem: chromatic aberration. Ever notice that you can make a fake 3d-like pic using pure red and pure blue, so the blue parts seem to be floating in space compared to the red? That's chromatic aberration at work. The cornea can only focus light from a relatively narrow band. The lower you go, the less-focused the light would be. Similar distortion would become problematic in the infrared range, though not as quickly as at the blue end.

Re:biotech rocks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29450551)

Damn, that was informative.

Re:biotech rocks (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449945)

Are you color "blind", or color "deficient". I can't see much of the red and green spectrum, but yellow and blue are just fine. A far smaller number of people can't see yellow and blue, but they are alright with reds and greens. It's a very rare individual who is "color blind".

If you are really color blind, I feel for you. Damned road signs and traffic lights must be real killers. They're bad enough for me!

Re:biotech rocks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29448979)

Sure will be fun watching all those people who won't eat a GM tomato line up for gene therapy that fixes the particular problem they have...

Re:biotech rocks (2, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449147)

That'd be a visit from our mutual friend the "risk/reward ratio"(Actually "Perceived risk/Perceived reward; but that is always the case).

Shockingly enough, people are willing to take larger risks to solve more serious problems, and for most of the people who object to GM crops, some previously incurable disease is a much larger problem than food supply, which is already good and solved if you have the money.

Re:biotech rocks (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449383)

Shockingly enough, people are willing to take larger risks to solve more serious problems, and for most of the people who object to GM crops, some previously incurable disease is a much larger problem than food supply, which is already good and solved if you have the money.

Disclaimer: I easily might not know what I'm talking about here, and as a (non agricultural) biologist myself, I'm probably skewed opinion towards the "we can improve on nature without serious consequence" end of things.

We do have enough food I guess, and we do have advanced ways of making that much food. It would be great if the cost of GOOD food came down, if we could make the food better, and if we could get away from some agriculture methods, assuming the risk was low enough.

You can get all the calories you need in a day for about ten cents. If you want healthy food, that strains some people's budget. Seems to me that if we made a fresh salad cheaper than a microwave burrito or what have you, a decent amount of the of obesity and malnutrition problems poorer america faces would dissapear. I believe that when the price of produce drops, the quality of life increases, even though we have enough food for everyone to not starve.

Second, again on the "nutrition could be improved" end, some crops can be healthier for you. Golden rice [wikipedia.org] is one example I've heard of. Vitamin A deficiency is apperantly a big problem in the developing world, especially parts in which rice is a staple of the diet. Rice which has been engineered to contain more beta carotene, great idea.

Third, we could use crops which didn't require as much fertilizer, pesticides, and other ecologically damaging maintenece. I'm sure there are more environmentally sound methods of crop production that don't require genetic modification, but to each one, I'd ask why they aren't being used right now. If it's an efficiency question, or just more expensive, then that gets into my first point.

Most GM protests and protesters I've heard of have focused more on costumes than actual risks, which makes me think that they might not be motivated by risks so much as FUD.

Re:biotech rocks (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450039)

I have no particular confidence in the accuracy of the typical GMO protesters' risk perception(or, for that matter, the accuracy of their opponents. The details are tricky enough, and the number of people familiar with them small enough, that majority attitudes are going to come down to choice of authorities, not independent understanding.)

I just don't think that it is either surprising or particularly ironic that someone who opposes GMO food production would seek genetic treatment for a condition affecting them.

Re:biotech rocks (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450769)

I see that I did go off on a tangent there when you weren't actually advocating that viewpoint.

I will point out that, especially with the viral method of transfection, you'd be much more likely to get cancer from this rather than GMO. I'm optimistic that if someone were offering to cure colorblindness by this method, someone would point out that and buisiness would dry up as people weigh the risks. I'm less optimistic that if they figure out how to do gene therapy without viral transfection or increased risk of cancer, GMO protesters will trust scientists.

Heck, I suspect the "infectedwithrage" tag currently on the story isn't completely sarcastic, and we're supposed to be at least a little more science oriented than the average joes.

Re:biotech rocks (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449391)

I bet the risk of injecting a virus into your eye is higher than eating a gm tomato...

And GM crops solve tons of problems though I think there should be room for two markets. The problem I have isn't people fighting for the choice of natural foods in their supermarket but fighting to stop GM crops. The threat of other people in your city eating GM crops is infinitesimally low.

Re:biotech rocks (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449895)

The problem non-GM croppers have (I'm not one of them, btw, I say it's about damn time we had killer tomatoes!), is GM crops almost always genetically compatible with non-GM crops, and most GM crops don't lose the ability to procreate.

In other words, if there is an "organic" (what a bullshit term, btw, if it weren't organic we couldn't eat it!) non-GM farm sitting next a GM farm, within a few years the non-GM farm will become a GM farm at least in part and the farmer may not even realize it. Well, until he starts getting ridiculously good tomatoes even though he uses no pesticides and only natural fertilizers, and most of his tomatoes used to come out sortof "iffy" (I'm exaggerating, of course).

So eventually, given enough time, everything will be at least a partially GM'd crop. That's not cool to non-GM'ers.

Re:biotech rocks (1)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449347)

Sure will be fun watching all those people who won't eat a GM tomato line up for gene therapy that fixes the particular problem they have...

... i know... the ignorance amazes.

Re:biotech rocks (1)

koxkoxkox (879667) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449449)

A lot of people objecting to GMO don't do it for personal safety. They fear the possible contamination of natural ecosystems, or just dislike the importance it gives to firms which are not really known for their philanthropic behavior (for example, the possibility of seeds producing sterile plants so you have to buy them each year).

Re:biotech rocks (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449961)

It's not seeds that produce sterile plants that is the problem, the little guys will just continue to use reproducing plants. They get subsidies here in the US so it's no big deal for them one way or the other.

It's the repdroducing GM plants that are the problem, because most of the time they WILL reproduce with non-modified plants, and the result is a modified plant. You can't go back to non-modified once it is modified, it will forever be "changed".

I don't think it's a bad thing, as long as we take care in what we do, but in general humans tend to break stuff first and try to fix it later. The biggest example today is what China is doing to their air, and what the US and Europe did to their's a hundred years ago. We don't tend to make the same mistake in new places, but there are a lot of old places that we may never be able to clean up all the way.

Re:biotech rocks (1, Redundant)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450045)

GM foods? Hmmm. I object to GM foods for a couple of reasons, IN ADDITION to simple queasiness.

First, the GM foods are replacing a number of cultivars. A widely varied pool of genes, nationwide and world wide are being replaced with a monoculture. Never a good idea. One blight that affects the favored cultivar can ensure widespread hunger, and possibly starvation.

Second, man evolved as an omnivore. We take nourishment from almost anything and everything that doesn't take nourishment from us first. In fact, the healthiest people are those who consume a wide variety of foods. Again - we are replacing that wide variety with monocultures. Might we be overlooking the importance of some thing? Hmmmm.

THIRD - those monocultures are developed and marketed by corporations that make full use of "copyright" "patent" and any other laws they can bring to bear. Using those foods with licenses attached pretty much gives a small group of developers a HUGE financial leverage on EVERYONE.

Personally, I might be willing to pay for a gene therapy treatment for something like this. I am NOT willing to pay big corporations to monopolize the world food supply. Big difference, IMHO.

I don't even think there is any irony in my attitude.

Re:biotech rocks (1)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450373)

Your arguments against monoculture and possible parent abuse are valid, but remember, a tool is only as good as you use it. Genetic engineering is a tool, just like any other branch of engineering, and GMOs and monoculture/patent trolling need not be mutually inclusive. Given time, hopefully we'll see a wide variety of GMO crops grown, and better patent laws, to avoid those problems.

Re:biotech rocks (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29449307)

nuff' said

you fuck hole

Re:biotech rocks (1)

emjay88 (1178161) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449403)

No no, Geology rocks, Biotech grows on you

Colors - for the first time (3, Funny)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448673)

Upon seeing the new colors, the monkeys also made the signs for "far out" and "trippy, dude".

Re:Colors - for the first time (3, Funny)

MarkRose (820682) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449353)

Given those results, I say we give the human trials a green light!

This is great! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29448709)

Now all those poor monkeys will finally be able to get unrestricted pilot licenses!

Re:This is great! (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450459)

Now all those poor monkeys will finally be able to get unrestricted pilot licenses!

What scares me is this implies they currently have restricted licenses.
         

Internet business advertising (-1, Offtopic)

hclim65 (1560847) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448747)

Thank you for your blog,your blog have a lot of very important knowledge and information.After i read giving me a good experince of all the articles at your site.I will always visit your site in future and i hope i will have a special experince after reading all your important article in your site/blog.Thanks you very much.From business advertising is a effective way to grow your small business plan for consumer products ,industrial supplies & mlm business. hclim@all-business-advertising.com http://www.all-business-advertising.com/ [all-busine...tising.com]

Re:Internet business advertising (1)

overbaud (964858) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448827)

I like your other website more ... http://www.howtospeak-engrish.com/ [howtospeak-engrish.com]

Re:Internet business advertising (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29448863)

They see me spammin', they hatin'

Next step: Tetrachromatism (3, Interesting)

Gizzmonic (412910) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448767)

What about those crazy women with 4 color receptors [tomes.biz] . They are real life mutants! Are we going to get some gene therapy like that? I want 2 receptors for green! I'll be like a human HDTV! In fact, that will be my crimefighting name: The Human HDTV! I fight crime in 1080i! (it would be in 1080p but that's as high as my TV goes)

Re:Next step: Tetrachromatism (4, Interesting)

1 a bee (817783) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448971)

Why not go infra-red? From the article..

Williams, however, was quicker to speculate. âoeUltimately we might be able to do all kinds of interesting manipulations of the retina,â he said. âoeNot only might we be able to cure disease, but we might engineer eyes with remarkable capabilities. You can imagine conferring enhanced night vision in normal eyes, or engineering genes that make photopigments with spectral properties for whatever you want your eye to see.â

âoeThis study makes that kind of science fiction future a distinct possibility, as opposed to a fantasy,â continued Williams.

Aye. A story deserving of being /.

Re:Next step: Tetrachromatism (2, Interesting)

Trahloc (842734) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449467)

That was the first thing I thought of as well. If they can bring a sub-par eye up to normal levels then I can't wait until we can add infravision 60'

Re:Next step: Tetrachromatism (1)

Trebawa (1461025) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449939)

Mod parent up. I want Darkvision so I can see in dimly lit dungeons! In all seriousness, however, it would be extremely useful to allow humans to see a wider spectrum than they currently can. Perhaps the hyperspectral vision of the mantis shrimp could yield proteins that could allow human eyes to see well into UV and IR.

Re:Next step: Tetrachromatism (1)

Samah (729132) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449985)

Why not go infra-red?

Cool idea... your TV remote would look like an awesome torch. :)

Re:Next step: Tetrachromatism (3, Insightful)

keeboo (724305) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449113)

What about those crazy women with 4 color receptors [tomes.biz]. They are real life mutants! Are we going to get some gene therapy like that?

I'm not sure I would want that.
All color movies and photographs up now are recorded for a audience of tricromats. Watching movies, seeing your family pictures, browsing the internet etc would probably look poor to tetracromats.

Re:Next step: Tetrachromatism (1)

SheeEttin (899897) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449839)

All color movies and photographs up now are recorded for a audience of tricromats. Watching movies, seeing your family pictures, browsing the internet etc would probably look poor to tetracromats.

So? Glasses to filter out all but visible light (today's visible light) should be trivial. Just like those blue & red 3D glasses.

Re:Next step: Tetrachromatism (3, Informative)

Miamicanes (730264) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450467)

> So? Glasses to filter out all but visible light (today's visible light) should be trivial. Just like those blue & red 3D glasses.

Women believed to be tetrachromatic don't see light trichromats can't see... they recognize two variants of "green" as being different, the same way green and red are different to you. If you were genuinely tetrachromatic in the sense the women are believed to be, TV, film, photographs, and printed images would almost ALWAYS look like shit to you, because the "green" would be "wrong" in ways you couldn't really explain.

Here's an example: suppose you were a trichromat, living in a world where 94% of the population couldn't distinguish between red and green, and for all intents and purposes "yellow" was just a darker or brighter shade of red/green. Color film wouldn't be based on red, green, and blue... it would be based on blue and yellow. Your RGB monitor would be a BY monitor. To everyone else, the whole idea of "RGB" would be silly, because they could get the exact same image quality from just blue and yellow. You'd be the unfortunate person who kept babbling about there being a difference between "red" and "green", and that they were somehow different from the color everyone else knew as "yellow". Anyway, getting back to the example, a tetrachromatic woman wouldn't want RGB... she'd want RGgB, where "G" and "g" were slightly different frequencies of green. An RGB monitor to a tetrachromat would look just as artificial, fake, and bad as a Blue-Yellow monitor designed for deutranopes and protanopes would to you.

Re:Next step: Tetrachromatism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29450601)

Good work missing the point there, smart guy.

Re:Next step: Tetrachromatism (1)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449569)

Something makes me suspicious... oh yeah:

Every single person I talked to said, absolutely not

I have no knowledge of which labs are trustworthy or whatever but that sentence demands skepticism

Excellent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29448817)

I'm colour blind - bring it on.

I've always wondered what makes red so special.... never been able to see what all the fuss is about. Maybe one day I'l know.

Re:Excellent (1)

c0d3r (156687) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449579)

I'm red color blind too.. and most of the items and clothing I own are red.. I even drive a cherry red camaro. I can see better in the dark and I have a sharp resolution.

curing blindness (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29448823)

I don't quite understand how their methods stopped the monkeys masturbating. And the damage can be reversed?! If you can't trust nuns, who can you trust?

Programming Implications (2, Funny)

ignavus (213578) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448837)

This definitely has programming implications for me. If you ever have had to design web pages for a superior with color blindness, and they insist on choosing or refusing the colors you want to use, you know the programming problems that color blindness can cause.

"This page looks best after gene therapy" - hmm, I like it.

Isn't that special (1)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448857)

Color blind chimps everywhere rejoice.

Cerebral achromatopsia (3, Interesting)

mindbrane (1548037) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448859)

Cerebral achromatopsia [wikipedia.org] will give you a different take on colour blindness as a result of brain damage. Localized brain damage can drain all the colour from your world and leave you in a world of the grey hued zombies. What we tend to think of as our vision isn't just a straight run from the retina back to the occipital lobe, and, much of what we think of a vision is a complex production of various brain modules.

Re:Cerebral achromatopsia (1)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449141)

Localized brain damage can drain all the colour from your world and leave you in a world of the grey hued zombies.

Oh, shit! I bordered up myself in my house, held off the zombie cops and all the other zombies - for nothing?! They weren't zombies?! I'm the crazy one?!

Nah. Back off you zombies!!!

Re:Cerebral achromatopsia (2, Informative)

sumthinboutjesus (984845) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449277)

To summarize for those who don't want to wade through the wikipedia article, achromatopsia is color blindness resulting from damage to the cortex, the outer layer of the cells in the brain that are generally responsible for all the higher-order processing of the sensory information our nervous system collects. Essentially, this means that your eyes are still functioning normally, but your brain is no longer able to interpret the signals properly; this is normally due to brain damage as result of loss of blood flow, often from a traumatic injury or stroke etc, although there are many other causes, some of which are unknown (idiopathic). This is certainly a different cause of color blindness, but I'm unsure as of why it's being discussed here because the treatments talked about in the article would only correct defects on the functional components of the eye. Correcting a problem in the cortex through a medical treatment is something that is most likely a good ways into the future; it's much more likely that your brain will spontaneously reroute the functional processing to a different undamaged part of the cortex and as a result recover full or partial color vision. If that doesn't happen, which often it doesn't, then it's unlikely that the problem will be fixed.

Re:Cerebral achromatopsia (1)

pclminion (145572) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449551)

Whoa. From the Wiki article, it sounds like this condition renders one incapable of even imagining color in visual imagery, not just seeing it.

Re:Cerebral achromatopsia (5, Insightful)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449767)

That is so cool. I love that some people don't even realize they're seeing grey. They can still name colors perfectly fine (they can pick out the "blue flavored" gatorates in the supermarket at a glance), but they don't have the experience of color available to their consciousness. This sort of deconstruction of consciousness's functions is, IMO, the strongest evidence against Cartesian dualism.

This reminds me of an experiment Bill Nye did. He wore a pair of goggles that flipped his vision upside-down. After a few days (I think) of headaches he completely got used to it and was able to function normally with it upside down. I think I remember him saying that it didn't seem upside down to him, and when they took off the goggles at the end the world seemed upside down again. The really fascinating part was that there wasn't a moment of "flipping" during the experiment: the upside-down image became his expected norm. In other words, the optic nerves don't correspond directly to some raster format where they're tied directly into our Video In consciousness jack. They're interpreted as needed and presented to our consciousness experience post-processing.

And the simple experiment didn't prove this but I suspect that there's no relative relation between optic nerves either. Like they're just haphazardly bundled together and shipped off to the brain, and the brain's processing adaptively grows to sort and make sense of the random signals. So I suspect that if you sever the optic nerve and connect the nerves randomly your brain will eventually be able to just interpret the new signals as the norm like Bill Nye did.

The reason I suspect that is because of the really cool electronic sensing technology that's been developed in the last few decades. I think I've read something like they can just send signals into nerves (obviously with sensible modulation/frequency/amplitude) and make the signals vary in some way based on the external world and after awhile patients are able to sense it naturally. Like audio signals to the eardrums and such.

Oh yeah I found it. This [slashdot.org] . By just shocking areas of the tongue a blind patient can develop a kind of sight. If the top left pixel is dark you shock the top left area, etc. Again, I think that you could completely mix up all of the inputs and after awhile it would be perfectly natural.

Think of feeling with your hand. A priori you have no idea which nerves in that thick bundle of nerves correspond to a particular finger. But by observing and noticing that when you twitch a certain way a particular finger moves and when you touch something you get an input only on particular nerves you eventually build up an intuitive grasp of which nerve is which (handled transparently of course). The problem is complex and we see side effects all the time. I'm sure everyone's had the experience of being in a weird position with their arms or legs twisted up and you can't really tell which limb is which. You may experimentally try to move a particualar leg that you see and move the wrong one!

This whole field is fascinating

Re:Cerebral achromatopsia (3, Interesting)

rgspb (987654) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450187)

I always find it interesting how some color-blind people know that they don't see a color the same way a non color-blind person does. There have been quite a few posts here stating how they see the color and then describing what the non color-blind person sees. I'm color-blind (red/green) and don't have any idea I'm seeing something different until someone brings it up. I didn't know peanut butter was NOT red until I was 30. It's how I always saw it and since normally the color of peanut butter is not a topic of discussion it just never came up. (it finally came up in a radio commercial. the kid asks mom "why is peanut butter brown"? I looked at my friend and said "what a dumb question, everybody knows peanut butter is red"!) So I have no idea how someone else sees the color of peanut butter. For me, part of it is a learned thing. Grass is green, everybody knows that, so my mind sees green, but my eyes see brown. It's like a picture of a frog, like a cartoon picture. The assumption for me is that it would be green, because cartoon frogs (not just Kermit) are usually green. So I would see the brown frog but say it is green unless I'm not thinking. Some have asked me if I color-blind with red/green then why did I think peanut butter was red. Because it LOOKS red. I can see red and green, but they don't always come across as red or green. Then you get into all the shades. Pink is a tough one for me, sometimes I don't see the pink at all and other times it looks grey or silver (think pink car). Dark colors are worse for me, I don't even try to separate my own socks. I'm not real sure I'd want to see normal colors at this point anyway, wouldn't I have to learn my colors all over again? Wouldn't I see non-problem colors differently too? I did try one of the red contacts on a few years ago and that's what happened. While my problem colors were improved, my non-problem colors were hurt. I think I'll just pass on the eye injections!

Re:Cerebral achromatopsia (2, Insightful)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450619)

"That is so cool. I love that some people don't even realize they're seeing grey."

I really don't think that you've read enough, or else that you have failed to understand what you have read.

I have both red and green color deficiency. My world is not gray. I see gray, as a distinct color, and I can see many shades of grey.

Instead of seeing gray where you see a shade of green, I see green. I am unable to distinguish very many shades of green - they sort of blend together. Where you might see 12 different colors in the grass, I may see one or two, but, it's all green. No gray, just green.

Early to middle spring is an awesome time for me, especially on a brightly lit day right after a rain. I look into the forest, and I can see a variety of colors that are visible to me at no other time. The different species of trees actually look DIFFERENT. There is no way in hell that I can name the colors, I can't describe them, but the forest actually looks green and alive, as it does at no other time. I suppose that it is entirely due to water droplets diffracting the light bouncing off the trees. But, again, as the light fades, or as the water dries off the vegetation, the leaves don't gray out for me - they just become a more uniform, more dull "green".

Red is very similar, but the effects are much less noticeable - probably because there is no place in nature that red just overwhelms everything else. Maroon and related colors tend to fade toward black for me, unless brightly lit.

Oddly though, I am unable to pick a bright red flower out of a field of green. That was one of the first hints that I was "color blind" as a child. Mother and I would be riding along, she says, "Oh, what beautiful roses!" and point. I would search and search, and never find that stupid rose bush.

Again - there was no gray spot in the field of green - those little red spots just blended into green.

Bahhh - I know that I've failed to explain what I see. Some day, you try explaining color to someone who has been blind from birth. You'll get the idea.

Yo Gene Therapy, I'm really happy for you (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29448885)

I'm gonna let you finish, but Gene Roddenberry was one of the best genes of all time. OF ALL TIME.

TetraChromacy? (1)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448931)

A vanishingly small percentage of the population actually sees four colors [wikipedia.org] . To them, we're somewhat color blind as well. I wonder if this type of therapy can be used to give us 25% blindies another color to check out?

Re:TetraChromacy? (1)

telomerewhythere (1493937) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449237)

TetraChromancy? Four zombies from one infected dead body? Scary!!

Viral videos! Or, How the Future Looks (1)

telomerewhythere (1493937) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448939)

I wonder about the mechanism of how the gene goes from virus to DNA... (in the ?proper? place) If it was just as simple as get fixes near where they need to go, that would be awesome. What about genes for the UV cones (?rods?) that birds have? Or the EM wave properties of certain avians? Will it only work this easy where something is lost? If not, Meet tomorrow's new warrior, able to see in the dark, radar, cell phone waves and electricity...

Taking it one step further, why not give them (tomorrow's warrior) the unmutated myosin gene, thus able to be 5 to 7 times stronger kilo for kilo of muscle?

Or we could just help people with genetic problems, making the human race just a little better as a race. (hopefully)

Re:Viral videos! Or, How the Future Looks (1)

PIBM (588930) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449397)

Taking it one step further, why not give them (tomorrow's warrior) the unmutated myosin gene, thus able to be 5 to 7 times stronger kilo for kilo of muscle?

Or we could just help people with genetic problems, making the human race just a little better as a race. (hopefully)

Because they will simply break their bones when excerting their force ?

Re:Viral videos! Or, How the Future Looks (1)

telomerewhythere (1493937) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449639)

Taking it one step further, why not give them (tomorrow's warrior) the unmutated myosin gene, thus able to be 5 to 7 times stronger kilo for kilo of muscle?

Or we could just help people with genetic problems, making the human race just a little better as a race. (hopefully)

Because they will simply break their bones when excerting their force ?

yeah, I thought of that too. But, bones respond to stress... Stronger with more stress. Why do not Chimps break their bones. If answer is genetic, then maybe viruses can do double duty...

I wonder what is the difference between chimp bones and human's

This is ALL kinds of awesome. (1)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448999)

First, it's a great achievement just to get the protein appearing sustainably in the right place. More importantly, though, this provides color perception in adult animals whose brains have never received red/green differential stimuli? I never would've guessed that was possible.

It gives me hope that, when we get retinal or cortical implants that can accept more than three bands of color, our brains will actually be able to handle them. Bring on all fifty-seven colors of the rainbow!

Impossible to imagine (4, Insightful)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449097)

As someone who is color-blind (severely red/green), this news just astounds me.

The basic fact is that I have no idea, no point of reference to even understand what it is I don't see. It is impossible for me to imagine what "Purple" actually is, since to me it is merely a dark blue. Not hard to imagine, like an unusual experience is, but as far as I'm concerned impossible to imagine.

Until seeing this article today, I had assumed that I would never be able to understand what most people saw. Having the possibility open up is simply mind-blowing. Imagine what kind of leap that would be for more serious conditions like actual blindness.

Re:Impossible to imagine (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449395)

My uncle and cousin are red/green color blind(severe), runs in our family. I know where you're coming from. I really hope this will becoming out to the public 'soonish'. This is a huge breakthrough.

Re:Impossible to imagine (2, Insightful)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449553)

Gene therapy is really the only actual proper cure for genetic defects know to man. And I think in retrospect, we will see it as one of the greatest inventions ever.

I mean imagine the possibilities, if you can change any genetics in your body at will!
Sure, as always, there will be downsides, and there will be a "early alpha" phase. But what we get far surpasses anything bad! And besides: Who will try to stop every human on the planet form doing research in that area or using that knowledge? ^^

The first thing that I will do, is add the "can't get fat" mutation that my brother has. :D

Re:Impossible to imagine (3, Funny)

AF_Cheddar_Head (1186601) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449587)

It's nice to see someone else that thinks the color purple is a conspiracy that all the "normal" vision carry out on us. I can't tell you how many "purple" shirts my daughter has convinced me to buy. There is no such thing as "purple" it's all a conspiracy.

Re:Impossible to imagine (1)

tsstahl (812393) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449653)

I hope it is not too anticlimactic for you. Stuff sucks the same in B&W and color. At least with black and white you get an aura of nostalgia. :) Seriously, this _is_ way cool.

Re:Impossible to imagine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29450219)

Uh, color-blind people don't usually see in black and white. They're usually just a color or two which then screws up every other color that needs the colors they are missing.

What they see is not comparable to what you see when you look at a black-and-white photo or TV show.

Re:Impossible to imagine (1)

VValdo (10446) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449683)

It is impossible for me to imagine what "Purple" actually is, since to me it is merely a dark blue.

Oh... be careful what you wish for. If you've lived without the color purple your entire life (and I assume you don't mean the book or movie), and suddenly it appears, who knows what effect this may have... ? Suddenly eggplants and bruises and certain over-the-top prose will connect and run together... things you've never associated before, you'll now see the hidden connections... it'll blow your mind. Soon, everything will become a 24-hour LSDesque trip with Grimace and Barney drinking grape juice with the LA Lakers... you'll grasp the subtleties of "Flying Purple People Eater" (is he purple? Or does he eat purple people?") The horror!

Then again, when the Tetrachromacy gene [wikipedia.org] is available, I'll be first in line...

W

Re:Impossible to imagine (1)

ZiakII (829432) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449841)

The LA Lakers are really purple? Or are you screwing with my colorblind eyes? I always thought they were blue =(

Re:Impossible to imagine (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449807)

Purple looks like artificial grape tastes. In other words, you arn't missing much ;)

Re:Impossible to imagine (2, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450441)

As someone who is color-blind (severely red/green), this news just astounds me. The basic fact is that I have no idea, no point of reference to even understand what it is I don't see. It is impossible for me to imagine what "Purple" actually is...

I suppose for us color-enabled people, an analogy might be trying to comprehend what it feels like to have a vagina.

Then again, for slashdot, merely what it's like to touch one :-)
     

A New hope (1)

mackhaX0r (1638945) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449175)

Giving a color blind person the ability to tell the difference ( I know its not for humans yet, just thinking ahead) between red and green has got to be the equivalent of a homeless person winning 10,000 dollars. It opens up a whole new world of #FF0000 and #00A550, like something you thought you would never get, it sounded cool, but you couldn't see it, and then finally obtaining that sole item or in this case the ability to see the difference certain colors.

Barriers to Human Usage (1)

sumthinboutjesus (984845) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449185)

These are quite exciting developments obviously, especially in regards to the treatment of the myriad of other visual pathologies this approach is applicable to treating. However, the FDA and other relevant medical procedure approving bodies are notoriously against the use of viruses to treat conditions in humans, at least in the US. This is largely due to the nature of viruses; they can mutate rapidly and easily, can quickly become pathogenic, as well as migrate to and interfere with other cells and tissues. I would be somewhat surprised to see a treatment like this based on a viral vector approved even in the medium-term future; most likely the same team or other researchers will develop a different vector that can be proven to be safe and has the ability to more specifically target retinal cells using some sort of CD marker or other retinal-cell specific protein marker. Hopefully this work will be done expeditiously, as these treatments would be a godsend to people suffering from eye pathologies that don't fall within the typical poor eyesight treated by vision correction and/or Lasik.

Colors not yet invented (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29449215)

But when will genetic manipulation allow me to see more colors than ROYGBIV?

Preferably, I would like to be able to see the color 'fart' so that I could avoid it.

We prefer to be called "Chromatically Challenged" (1)

Sam_In_The_Hills (458570) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449231)

One day my chromatically challenged brothers and I will rise up and take control. Then the changes will begin. Let's see how you "It's not light blue, it's teal" people handle traffic lights with three lens but only two colors, one of which is white so it matches the street lights at night. Emergency vehicles that might actually only be tow trucks and smarmy calls from the network engineer "The color of the led will change on the ethernet card if it's working". Maybe for you rainbow head but not for me. Once we're in charge there will be be other changes like no more colorized movies. Hell we just might black and whiterize them all just for spite. Just you wait. On that proud day we will hoist our many banners and just like always we will hear you say, as you always say, "You know that doesn't match your socks, right?"

Re:We prefer to be called "Chromatically Challenge (4, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449447)

They wouldn't let me join the army because I am "color blind". No-one mentioned this to me when I was in Cadets, and it's not like the topic didn't come up. I remember one day we all lined up in front of a field:

Instructor: Right. Everyone, listen up. Today we are doing a sweep search exercise. Hidden in this field are 6 soldiers, all highly trained in the skill of camouflage. You will form a single line, one arm length seperation, and walk this field. Be attentive, they may be right in front of them and you won't see them.

[I raise my hand]

Instructor: Yes cadet, what is it?

Me: Do you mean [pointing] that guy, that guy, that guy, that guy, that guy, and that lady?

Instructor: [Sigh]. Ok smart-ass, you're dismissed. Everyone else, turn around while we reconfigure.

But hey, at least they won't draft me.

 

Re:We prefer to be called "Chromatically Challenge (1)

dafing (753481) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450567)

Very cool story, I have heard about similar things happening before. Have you ever tested to see just how much better you can "see through" camouflage etc? I feel a little silly asking, but do you think its something you could describe to someone who is "not colour blind"? Funny huh, a "blind" person can see the truth :)

Re:We prefer to be called "Chromatically Challenge (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450749)

Sure, this is the best article on the subject I've seen:

      http://critiquewall.com/2007/12/10/blindness [critiquewall.com]

Enjoy.

Re:We prefer to be called "Chromatically Challenge (1)

AF_Cheddar_Head (1186601) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449611)

Right on brother.

And by the way all of you that color-code the pie charts in Powerpoint without patterns, you are the first to go.

So... will this be covered under ObamaCare? (-1, Troll)

w3woody (44457) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449273)

Suppose we manage to create a gene therapy which restores color sight to humans. Will this be covered under ObamaCare? More specifically, will the precalculated cost to benefit ratio fit within the guidelines that will be proposed under our equivalent of NICE?

Re:So... will this be covered under ObamaCare? (1)

AF_Cheddar_Head (1186601) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449631)

Damn right it will be covered. If you never had to deal with the idiot question--What color is that, and that, and that?--you have noooooo idea how stupid you "normals" can be.

Skeptical (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29449361)

Speaking as the a member of the "would like to be a member of the red/green appreciation society" society, er, I'm skeptical about this. I have no doubt that the monkeys can now perceive red and green as I saw the video (well I think I saw the video, there was a lot of blue in it), but I doubt that they can put what they're seeing in the correct context.

With my HUGE amount of biology and genetics training (high school, 6 months) I expect the brain has to have some sort of internal map that says "this cone is blue" "this cone is green" for the colour detection to make sense. In electronics we get around this by having a rigid grid of RGB pixels. Biology isn't so neat and the rods are scattered randomly around the back of the eye, but the brain knows which is which.

I expect that, while the monkey's altered cone is detecting red and green wavelengths, the brain is still mapping it to something else. The only way we'd be able to tell is if a human were to undertake the therapy. If/when this happens I expect he (usually he) will say "oooo blue" or "oooo purple" when in fact he is being shown something red.

Now this could all be completely wrong if the cones somehow encode their colour signal and the brain simply interprets the impulse, so rather than "50% on" the cone sends "50% and I'm red" to the brain.

Nitpick (1)

Random5 (826815) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449563)

Maybe I'm being picky but if they ju,st treated it, it should be a 'formerly untreatable' type of blindness. Great news for the colourblind though

Glasses for Color Blindness Correction (1)

c0d3r (156687) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449623)

I've heard of glasses that help correct colorblindness and found the following link.

http://www.dyslexia-help.co.uk/chromagen_colour_deficiency.html

They even have stuff for dyslexia.. weird.

Whats interesting is i can partially pass the tests and I don't land into any of the categories of color blindness. If i blur my eyes i can pass the tests, although i remember it being difficult in the "real" test.

most scientists considered impossible (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29449951)

The best science is the science that prove to "most scientists considered impossible" to be possible.
Keep it up mad sciences! You rule!

You know what they say: (3, Insightful)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450473)

"Monkey see, monkey blue"

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...