A swimming eyeball?

By Carl Zimmer | March 1, 2011 12:43 am

Here’s one of the weirder things I’ve come across in biology. When lamp shells are just tiny 36-hour-old embryos–just a clump of a few hundred cells–they can see. Many cells on their outer surface express a photoreceptor gene, and they show evidence of being able to swim towards light. In other words, these lamp shells are swimming eyeballs.

Aside from the surrealism, this discovery is also cool because it might be a model for how our own eyes evolved. Perhaps they started out in a similar way. For more details, check out my story in today’s New York Times.

[Image: Coreldraw]

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Evolution, Writing Elsewhere
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The Loom

A blog about life, past and future. Written by DISCOVER contributing editor and columnist Carl Zimmer.

About Carl Zimmer

Carl Zimmer writes about science regularly for The New York Times and magazines such as DISCOVER, which also hosts his blog, The LoomHe is the author of 12 books, the most recent of which is Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed.

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