Date Published: January 20, 2004
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Partial Text: Conventional wisdom says that people deficient in one sense—such as vision or hearing—often acquire heightened acuity in another. And some studies support this notion by showing that areas of the brain known to control vision can respond to other forms of sensory stimuli in persons without sight. These adjustments, of course, take place over the lifetime of an individual. Now it appears that similar adjustments may occur over evolutionary time. Investigating the deterioration of olfactory receptor (OR) genes in primates, Yoav Gilad and his colleagues at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany and the Weizmann Institute in Israel found a correlation between the loss of OR genes and the acquisition of full trichromatic color vision.