Shining a Light on the Blind: Evolutionary Regression and Adaptive Progression in the Micro-vertebrate Ramphotyphlops braminus, a Model for Understanding Brain Organization and Complex Neurological Disorders

Many current efforts aim at understanding the depth of our nervous systems. However, complexity imposes impediments, while simpler systems can provide fundamentally important insight. The brahminy blindsnake (Ramphotyphlops braminus) is among Earth’s smallest vertebrates, and has a tiny central nervous system (CNS). This study produced a R. braminus brain atlas, assessed its eye architecture, and determined the effects of light on behavior. Microscopy revealed a miniaturized brain and eye. The retina contained all normal layers, with both rod and cone opsins, and behavioral experiments demonstrated negative phototaxis. This research provides new knowledge of the fundamental vertebrate CNS and creates insight into evolutionary regression and adaptive progression in micro-vertebrate life.

Scientific field





River Connell Grace

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