Scientists Create Proteins To Enable Human Eyes To See A Wider Color Spectrum

Body modification to expand the realm of the senses, New Scientist reports:

Researchers have altered the structure of a protein normally found in the human eye so that it can absorb a type of red light that we cannot normally see. The new protein could, in theory, give us the ability to see reds that are currently beyond our visible spectrum.

Colour vision in nearly all animals depends on specialised chemicals called chromophores, which sit inside proteins and absorb different wavelengths of light. Specific protein structures are thought to determine the absorption spectrum of the chromophores within. Babak Borhan at Michigan State University and his colleagues engineered a series of mutations which altered the structure of human chromophore-containing proteins.

If these proteins were present in the eye you would be able to see red light that is invisible to you now, says co-author James Geiger, also at Michigan State University. But since objects reflect a mixture of light, the world would not necessarily always appear more red. “Something that looked white before would now look green with your new super red vision,” he says.

7 Comments on "Scientists Create Proteins To Enable Human Eyes To See A Wider Color Spectrum"

  1. I hate the way the world seems to be heading – knowledge is a dangerous thing indeed.

    • BuzzCoastin | Dec 16, 2012 at 8:00 pm |

      on the bright side
      targets will be able to see the laser pointer just before it happens

  2. It surely isn’t more dangerous thing than ignorance, indeed.

  3. Lily G.C. | Dec 17, 2012 at 12:07 am |

    I am so excited right now. I volunter! I’ll test it!

    • kowalityjesus | Dec 17, 2012 at 3:39 am |

      Interestingly, the frequencies of EM radiation that we can see closely correlates with the EMR frequencies that the atmospheric composition is NOT opaque to over a distance. Thus the only barrier preventing us from seeing a greater band of frequencies is genetic legacy with respect to vision-energy-use efficiency.

      I’ve thought in the past about what it would be like to see colors that are beyond the spectrum of human perceptibility. I have not found any respectable analogy. For example, it would NOT be like hearing a pitch outside the twelve-tone scale, because this scale repeats ad infinitum (see b-flat universe). How bizarre and fascinating it would be to see radio waves, and you could adjust the TV rabbit ears by sight, or be able to tell when your favorite radio-station is within range.

  4. Chinese boy see in the dark – they avoid severe criticism by claiming his eyes are not stem cell experimentation but a freak anomaly of nature. Will we find these modified creatures on the secret, private frequently visited Chinese Space Station(s) Are they Thorium powered?

  5. Brother Cavil: I saw a star explode and send out the building blocks of the Universe. Other stars, other planets and eventually other life. A supernova! Creation itself! I was there. I wanted to see it and be part of the moment. And you know how I perceived one of the most glorious events in the universe? With these ridiculous gelatinous orbs in my skull! With eyes designed to perceive only a tiny fraction of the EM spectrum. With ears designed only to hear vibrations in the air.

    Ellen Tigh: The five of us designed you to be as human as possible.

    Brother Cavil: I dont want to be human! I want to see gamma rays! I want to hear X-rays! And I want to – I want to smell dark matter! Do you see the absurdity of what I am? I cant even express these things properly because I have to – I have to conceptualize complex ideas in this stupid limiting spoken language! But I know I want to reach out with something other than these prehensile paws! And feel the wind of a supernova flowing over me! Im a machine! And I can know much more! I can experience so much more. But Im trapped in this absurd body! And why? Because my five creators thought that God wanted it that way!

    – Battlestar Galactica

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