Overproduction and elimination of retinal axons in the fetal rhesus monkey

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Science  25 Mar 1983:
Vol. 219, Issue 4591, pp. 1441-1444
DOI: 10.1126/science.6828871


Quantitative electron microscopic analysis reveals 2.85 million retinal axons in fetal rhesus monkeys--a number that is more than twice the 1.2 million present in the adult. More than 1 million supernumerary optic axons are eliminated before birth, simultaneously with the segregation of inputs from the two eyes into separate layers of the lateral geniculate nucleus. Selective elimination of optic axons may not only play a role in the segregation of binocular visual connections but, secondarily, may establish the ratio of crossed and uncrossed retinogeniculate projections.