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sharks are color blind, new research suggests, with the toothy predators likely forever seeing the world in black and white.The study, published in the latest Royal Society Biology Letters, is the first to investigate the genetic basis

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and spectral tuning of the shark

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visual system. The ramifications

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could be huge, helping to save

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both sharks and people.

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blind as a shark

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“The work will have a major influence on human interactions with sharks,” co-author Nathan Hart, a research associate professor at the University of Western Australia’s School of Animal Biology and The Oceans Institute, told Discovery News. “Firstly, this knowledge may enable us to design fishing gear that is more specific for target fish species and thus reduces unnecessary bycatch of sharks,” Hart continued. “Secondly, it may help us to design equipment that is less attractive to sharks (wetsuits and surfboards, for example) that may help to reduce attacks on humans.” Building on a study from last year, Hart and his colleagues isolated and

Photopigments are light-sensitive molecules. Through a biochemical process, they signal this detection of light to the rest of the visual system. Ximet od quate eum se neceate cus. In poremqu iaecum andeligniet autecta spidit pa volles et porerum nonsendi suscitiis ut facia nit volendae cullaccume reperci lliquianitat modi

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sequenced genes encoding shark

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photopigments involved in vision.

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blind as a shark

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Sharks belong to a cartilaginous fish group that also includes skates and rays. Prior research indicates that skates have “no color vision at all,” Hart noted. “Rays have more than one photopigment and so they have the retinal ‘machinery’ for color vision,” he added. “Recent behavioral tests in my lab have also demonstrated that they Photopigments are found in two places:

have functional color vision.”

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Sharks are probably not the only large

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water dwellers that are color-blind. Other research indicates that marine

Rods are more sensitive and is generally used under very dim light.

mammals, such as dolphins. Ab ium sitius res eria dolum sinit, saperibus sum quasitibus. Caepudi

Cones are much smaller and less sensitive, but is faster responding, applying more to brighter light conditions. The researchers determined that the studied sharks, in this case two wobbegong species, are cone monochromats.

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This means that the sharks only had one

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type of cone and one type of rod gene,

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supporting that they are color-blind.

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Blind as a Shark