The segregation of initially intermingled left and right eye inputs to the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus (DLGN) during development is thought to be in response to precise spatial and temporal patterns of spontaneous ganglion cell activity. To test this hypothesis, we disrupted the correlated activity of neighboring ganglion cells in the developing ferret retina through immunotoxin depletion of starburst amacrine cells. Despite the absence of this type of correlated activity, left and right eye inputs segregated normally in the DLGN. By contrast, when all spontaneous activity was blocked, the projections from the two eyes remained intermingled. Thus, certain features of normal neural activity patterns are not required for the formation of eye-specific projections to the DLGN.
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