The direction-selective circuit in the retina extracts the directional information of image motion in the visual scene. It is a classic model for neural circuit analysis because its input and output are well-defined and accessible to physiological measurements. However, the neural basis of direction selectivity is still not fully understood. Indeed, this ostensibly simple computation arises from a collection of complex neural mechanisms at all levels of circuit organization. In this review, we describe recent advances in genetic, imaging and optogenetic techniques that have improved our understanding of the synaptic organization and development underlying retinal direction selectivity.
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