Abstract: Series 111, Lecture 6

The Harvey Lectures Series 111 (2015—2016)

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Lecture #6: Thursday, April 21, 2016 — Watch Video of Lecture

X-Chromosome Inactivation, Color Vision, and the Female Advantage

Jeremy Nathans, MD, PhD

Jeremy Nathans, MD, PhD

Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, Maryland

Dr Nathans's Website

Color vision is found throughout the animal kingdom. It is even found in a primitive form in some plants and bacteria. This lecture will explore normal and variant color vision in humans. Inherited variation in color vision is one of the most common variations in sensory function in our species, and its molecular basis is now fully understood. The lecture will also explore the diverse ways in which color vision has evolved, with an emphasis on its evolution in humans and other primates. The evolution of primate color vision is intimately linked to X-chromosome inactivation, a genetic mechanism that generating somatic diversity in females. Although best understood in the context of color vision, the implications of sex-specific somatic diversity extend far beyond this arena.