Kate Taylor
October 30, 2012

A huge computational analysis has revealed that opsins – the light-sensitive proteins key to vision – may have evolved earlier than previously believed.

Opsins are a vital component of the visual pigments that trap light in the eyes, and there’s long been intense debate over exactly when they first evolved.

To try and settle the question, the University of Bristol analysis incorporated all available genomic information from all relevant animal lineages, including a newly sequenced group of sponges called Oscarella carmela and the Cnidarians, a group of animals widely thought to have possessed the world’s earliest eyes.

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