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A little more than a decade ago, it was shown that the most commonly used animal model in vision research, the common house mouse, significantly deviates from other mammals in its photoreceptor organization. Mouse, like most mammals, has two cone opsins, shortwave (S) and green sensitive (M), however the two pigments are asymmetrically patterned and coexpressed in most cone photoreceptors over the entire retina. Molecular, functional, and behavioral studies have since expanded our understanding of cone opsin coexpression and dorsoventral gradients and their functional significance in the mouse retina. Most importantly, comparative studies using immunohistochemistry and opsin screening in a range of mammals have firmly established that dorsoventral opsin gradients and cone pigment coexpression are not restricted to rodents. The anatomical data, together with molecular results suggest that in mammals a single cone type differentially regulates S and M opsin, temporally and spatially, to create the unforeseen diversity of gradients and patterns observed from marsupials to man. We are beginning to understand which factors set the opsin phenotype of a photoreceptor. However, how these factors differ between species, and how differential expression may explain differing cone type patterns remains unexplored. Recent advances in the field will be discussed.