Common variation in colour vision exists among both colour normal and colour deficient subjects. Differences at a few amino acid positions that influence the spectra of the L and M cone pigments account for most of this variation. The genes encoding the L and M photopigments are arranged in head-to-tail arrays on the X-chromosome, beginning with the L and followed by one or more M pigment genes. The L and M pigment genes are highly homologous, which predisposed them to unequal crossing over (recombination) resulting in gene deletions and in formation of L/M hybrid genes that encode a variety of pigments with either L-like or M-like spectra that account for the majority of colour vision defects. Only the first two pigment genes of the L/M array are expressed in the retina and, therefore, need to be considered in predicting colour vision. A common single amino acid polymorphism (serine or alanine) at position 180 of the L-pigment plays an important role both in variation in normal colour vision and in the severity of colour vision defects. Blue cone monochromacy is a rare form of colour vision deficiency that results from mutations that abolish function of both the L and M pigment genes. All the above defects are inherited as X-linked recessive traits. Tritanopia is also a rare autosomal dominant colour vision defect caused by mutations in the S pigment gene located on chromosome 7. Total colour blindness (achromatopsia or rod monochromacy) is a rare autosomal recessive trait caused by mutations in genes encoding the proteins of the photoreceptor cation channel or cone transducin that are essential for function of all classes of cone.