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The artist who sees 100 million colours

The artist who sees 100 million colours

Friday 28 November 2014

Australian-born San Diego resident Concetta Antico is an artist with a difference. While most of us are able to perceive around one million colours, based on recent genotyping scientists claim Ms Antico can process in the region of 100 million colours, allowing her to see many more shades and hues than other humans.

It’s the result of an extremely rare condition called tetrachomacy, and the science of the condition is intriguing and largely unexplored. Humans are born with three types of photoreceptor cone cells. Tetrachromats are born with four. The condition is currently thought to be the result of X-chromosome mutations, which in males results in colour-blindness. If females have the mutation in both X-chromosomes, the result is tetrachomacy. The odds of this happening are almost beyond calculation.

Due to the rarity of the condition, little research into the condition exists. Presented with such a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Scientists at the University of California, Irvine, are studying Ms Antico’s perceptive abilities with keen interest. For Ms Antico, the ability to see more colours adds a whole new dimension to the striking impressionist-style pictures she paints. It undoubtedly also brings a little more colour to her life…


  1. All About Vision:
    Artist with rare condition sees millions of colours.


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