How Do Mice See the World? Scientists Developed Open-Supply Digicam to Seize Habitats as Rodents See It

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Mice are often used as models for scientific research. However, scientists are still unable to understand how they see the world. Researchers from Munich and Tübingen have therefore developed a new device that is supposed to tell how mice see their natural environment.

This open source camera will help scientists understand how rodents draw inferences from limited information in order to adapt to the demands of their local environment that increase their chances of survival and reproduction.

Understand the mouse perspective

Evolution has enabled mice to develop sensory systems that help them perceive their surroundings, Science Daily reported. For example, their visual system has shaped their physical features such as the position of the eyes and the relative visual acuity of different regions of the retina.

But knowledge about the function of visual evolution has remained relatively sparse even after decades of using mice as the preferred model for scientific experiments. Neuroscience News previously reported that a study by UC Berkeley showed that mice navigate their world with their whiskers. However, this does not tell how color vision helps them survive like other mammals, who use it to forage food, evade predators, and choose mates.

Professor Laura Busse from the Department of Biology II at the Ludwig Maximilians University (LMU) in Munich said that it was at this point that she realized that exploring the world from the rodent’s point of view is not well explored.

Busse decided to conduct a study on the visual input and processing of neural signals in mice in collaboration with Professor Thomas Euler from the University of Tübingen.

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Open source camera mimics the way mice see the world

According to the news agency, mice are two-colored animals. This means that they have two different types of cone cells in their retina, the photoreceptors that are responsible for color vision.

These cone cells can detect electromagnetic radiation in the green and ultraviolet spectrum, which is about 510 nanometers (nm) and 350 nm in wavelength.

The study, “Statistics of the natural environment in the upper and lower visual fields reflected in the mouse’s retinal specializations,” published in Current Biology, aims to determine the range of color information that mice can see in their natural habitats, and whether those colors are the Functional characteristics of the neural circuits in your retina.

The open source camera is designed to cover the green and ultraviolet spectral regions that the retina is sensitive to, according to News Medical Life Sciences. It is also equipped with a gimbal that automatically aligns the picture frame to avoid sudden and unintentional shifts in position.

The team mapped the environment in which the presence of mice was detected as it would have appeared from a mouse’s perspective at different times of the day.

Busse said that through the open source camera they confirmed that the upper part of the home’s retina is sensitive to UV light, while the downward half is sensitive to green light. These two spectral ranges closely match the color statistics of their natural environment in which they are normally seen. Researchers believe it could be the product of evolution.

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More news and information on color in the Science Times.