Two types of photoreceptors, rods and cones, coexist in the vertebrate retina. An in-depth analysis of the retinal circuitry that transmits rod and cone signals has been hampered by the presence of intimate physical and functional connections between rod and cone pathways. By deleting the cyclic nucleotide-gated channel CNG3 we have generated a mouse lacking any cone-mediated photoresponse. In contrast, the rod pathway is completely intact in CNG3-deficient mice. The functional loss of cone function correlates with a progressive degeneration of cone photoreceptors but not of other retinal cell types. CNG3-deficient mice provide an animal model to dissect unequivocally the contribution of rod and cone pathways for normal retinal function.