Confronting complexity: strategies for understanding the microcircuitry of the retina

Annu Rev Neurosci. 2000;23:249-84. doi: 10.1146/annurev.neuro.23.1.249.


The mammalian retina contains upward of 50 distinct functional elements, each carrying out a specific task. Such diversity is not rare in the central nervous system, but the retina is privileged because its physical location, the distinctive morphology of its neurons, the regularity of its architecture, and the accessibility of its inputs and outputs permit a unique variety of experiments. Recent strategies for confronting the retina's complexity attempt to marry genetic approaches to new kinds of anatomical and electrophysiological techniques.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Electrophysiology
  • Genetic Techniques
  • Humans
  • Neural Pathways / cytology
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Retina / cytology
  • Retina / physiology*
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / physiology
  • Synapses / physiology