PERSPECTIVES AND SUMMARY The evolutionary history of the vertebrate eye has long perplexed biologists. Darwin himself found it hard to conceive that such a complex and integrated structure could have arisen by natural selection. Not the least remarkable feature of the eye is the lens, a transparent, avascular tissue largely responscopyright covering this paper. IThe US Government has the right to retain a nonexclusive, royalty-free license in and to any WISTOW & PIATlGORSKY ible for delivering a clear image of the outside world to the photoreceptors of the retina. The lens grows throughout life. Anterior cuboidal epithelial cells are displaced toward the lens equator, divide, and elongate into terminally differÂ entiated fiber cells that lose their nuclei and other organelles, potential sources of light scattering. New layers of posterior fiber cells continually overlay their predecessQrs, so that the central part of the lens, known as the nucleus, is composed of cells of embryonic origin. There is little or no protein turnover in the differentiated fiber cells. This means that the proteins of the lens can be extremely old and may be exposed to bright light for decades. Although the lens contains familiar cytoskeletal and other proteins, its major
Annual Review of Biochemistry – Annual Reviews
Published: Jul 1, 1988
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