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In light of these findings, it is interesting that the 6-wave of the ERG of visually deprived kittens has a reduced magnitude (Ganz, Fitch, & Satterberg, 1968), suggesting some quantitative deficiency in the synaptic mechanism as a consequence of deprivation. Since the kittens in question were deprived of light for up to 14 weeks after birth, it is not possible to say whether the deficiency resulted from atrophy or whether the synaptic mechanism never achieved its usual functional efficiency in the absence of visual stimulation.
Compared to cells not exposed to blocking agents during the formative period of synaptogenesis. There can be no doubt that synapses can be formed and that amphibians can swim in the absence of prior functional activity (see Foelix and Oppenheim, this volume, for further suggestive evidence on this point), but the question remains entirely open whether the function (neural or behavioral) which typically accompanies or precedes such activities plays a facilitative role in the process. By way of breaking out of the strait jacket of a purely dichotomous nature-nurture approach to the study of ontogeny, it would now appear useful to inquire not only if, but how well, later functions are performed in animals or tissue cultures which have been subjected to a curtailment of their usual (typical) functional activity.
P. 240]" and that ". . the universal importance of mechanical factors has been clearly demonstrated [p. 239]" and, firrther, that electrical current has " . . a slight directive effect... [p. 239]," it remains to inquire what special role chemoaffinity plays in the drama of nerve growth and synaptic formation. 3. CHEMOAFFINITY HYPOTHESIS Up to this point, we have been speaking about the nervous system as if it were a rather "general system" in its developmental characteristics, not necessarily totally equipotential or unlimited in its growth possibilities, but also not following very strict rules of connection between its individual units (neurons).