Imagine being able to see 100 million distinct colors. Scientists now say they have confirmed that a rare condition called tetrachromacy allows some people to do exactly that, including a well-known California artist.
Impressionist artist Concetta Antico was diagnosed with the condition in 2012, according to a new report on tetrachromacy by the IFL Science Website.
The human eye is packed with millions of cone-shaped cells that help people see colors. For those with normal vision, the cones allow vision of about one million distinctive colors. But some animal species including certain birds, insects, fish, and reptiles, have a fourth type of cone cell that extends color perception into the UV range. There is evidence that a small group of humans may have a genetic variant of that ability that allows for tetrachromacy.
Testing for tetrachromacy can difficult, but tests revealed Antico does have the genetic variations that allow for that fourth type of cone cell. Though this mutation has given her an incredible gift of expanded color perception, it has also left her daughter colorblind.
Antico has been working with researchers investigating human tetrachromacy. By understanding the condition, they hope to discover a way for others to boost the amount of colors they see as well.
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