Found a Cure for Colorblindness

What do Bill Clinton, Keanu Reeves and monkeys Dalton and Sam have in common? Color blindness. And what is the difference between them? Dalton and Sam were the first creatures cured of this disorder…

Geneticists have discovered a cure for colorblindness, and offered hope to millions who do not distinguish green from red. Scientists from the University of Washington, Seattle, and University of Florida restored the normal vision to two color blind monkeys. The same technique could be safe and effective for the color blindness and other similar disorders of the retina pins.

“Although color blindness to a lesser extent interferes with life, we have shown that it can be treated with primates, and without danger to vision,” said professor William Hauswirth, a molecular geneticist from the University of Florida.

Those who suffer from blindness to red and green can not distinguish colors in the green-red-yellow spectrum. Because of that reading map, using the Internet or buying clothes that match the color is impossible for them. Disturbance in the recognition of color occurs in all races but is most common among whites. It is developed by eight percent of Caucasian men and only 0.5 percent of women.

For normal color differentiation in the retina we should have three types of pins sensitive to light in blue, green and red part of the spectrum. Monkeys used in research – Dalton and Sam – did not have the gene L opsin that controls the work pf pins sensitive to red. The same gene defect causes blindness to red and green among people.

Namely, after tests on colorful screen, scientists have found that monkeys do not differ gray, green and red spots.

In the study, published in the journal Nature, the scientists explained in which way they regain normal vision to monkeys. They injected the modified virus containing the gene L opsin into the retina. After 24 weeks the sensitivity of the retina to light moved toward the red part of the spectrum. Therefore, the monkeys began to easily distinguish the gray, green and red patterns on the screen. Two years after treatment, the monkeys had no negative consequences for treatment.

Because of that, scientists are now looking for permission to experiment on people who are blind to color.

“Color blind feel like they miss something. If we find a safe way of treatment, there will be many of those who would want treatment,” said prof. Jay Neitz, from the University of Washington.

Celebrities who suffer/ed from colorblindness: Mark Twain (writer), Peter Ebdon (musician), Meat Loaf (singer), Jack Nicklaus (golfer), Bing Crosby (singer), Bill Clinton (former U.S. president), Keanu Reeves (actor).


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