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severalog

The tiniest eye

Harry Caufield

I learned a bit about ocelloids on the most recent This Week in Microbiology - they are essentially eyes, complete with lenses and retinae, yet they're part of single-celled protists. In case it's not strange enough that a single-celled organism has an eye, it looks like ocelloids may have evolved from chloroplasts.  This suggests that the most primitive* forms of light perception were developed by cyanobacteria. Thanks, bacteria.

Here's looking at you. Figure is from Hayakawa et al. (2015) PLoS ONE. The ocelloid parts are marked by H and R.  See the paper for more details.

Here's looking at you. Figure is from Hayakawa et al. (2015) PLoS ONE. The ocelloid parts are marked by H and R.  See the paper for more details.

* Calling a perfectly functional evolutionary development "primitive" may be unnecessarily pejorative here. Development of eye precursors is nothing short of amazing.