Relevant data on the distribution of color cones are summarized, with special emphasis on the marked dorso–ventral asymmetries observed in a number of mammalian species. In addition, an overview is given of studies that demonstrate the coexistence of two visual pigments within the same cone cell. The biological significance of these phenomena is discussed in conjunction with comparative immunocytochemical analyses of subprimate retinas. Based on various cone distribution patterns and temporal and spatial visual pigment coexpression, two models of cone photoreceptor differentiation are suggested.
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