Jeffery, William R. Department of Biology, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland.
- Eye degeneration
- Lens signaling
- Genetic control
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
The vertebrate eye is an extraordinary organ in terms of structure, function, and development. Vision is acquired during embryonic development as a result of coordinated patterning and growth of many different eye tissues. The mature eye consists of anterior and posterior sectors (Fig. 1). The major tissues of the anterior sector are the cornea, anterior chamber, iris, and crystalline lens. The posterior sector contains the posterior chamber, retinal pigment epithelium, and neural retina, which projects neurons through the optic nerves to visual centers in the brain. The eye tissues are derived from different embryonic sources. The lens and external part of the cornea originate from ectoderm on the surface of the embryo. The interior part of the cornea and a portion of the iris are derived from neural crest cells, which migrate into the developing eye from the neural tube. The retina, retinal pigment epithelium, and part of the iris are formed from the optic vesicle, an outpocketing of the brain.
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