In 2007, we began a collaboration with Professor Shaun Collin at University of Queensland and with Ed Pugh, to attempt to account for the myriad of tiny steps that led to the evolution of the vertebrate eye. We have obtained preliminary evidence to indicate that the remarkable “eye” of the hagfish may provide clues to a step in the evolution of our own eyes. We are embarking on a project involving:
- Ultrastructural studies of eyes, photoreceptors, and bipolar cells from hagfish and lampreys.
- Electrical recordings from hagfish photoreceptors.
- Analysis of hagfish genes (e.g. the hagfish eye transcriptome) by high-throughput sequencing.