• enucleation;
  • cell death;
  • retinal ganglion cell;
  • ipsilateral projection;
  • neurogenesis;
  • competition;
  • rat


Naturally occurring cell loss in the retinal ganglion cell population of one eye can be interrupted by removal of the other eye in newborn rodents. Many of the rescued retinal ganglion cells which project ipsilaterally reside in the nasal retina, that part of the retina normally giving rise to primarily crossed optic axons. Their naturally occurring elimination has been attributed to their hypothesized late neurogenesis and the consequent delayed time of arrival of their axons in the target visual nuclei, thereby placing them at a competitive disadvantage with other, early arriving, optic axons. By combining the technique of tritiated thymidine autoradiography with the retrograde axonal transport of horseradish peroxidase in rats that had been enucleated on the day of birth, we report here that rescued cells in the nasal retina which project ipsilaterally are generated at the same time as their neighbours in the temporal retina. Time of genesis does not distinguish them; consequently, their axons should not differ in their arrival times within the target visual nuclei. Since their only obvious anomaly is one of pathway choice at the optic chiasm, their place of arrival, rather than their time, may ultimately determine their naturally occurring elimination.