Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Gene Implicated In Human Language Affects Song Learning In Songbirds

Date:
December 5, 2007
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
The FoxP2 gene, which is essential for human speech and language, is also required for proper song development in songbirds, raising the possibility that songbirds and humans share molecular pathways for learned vocalizations.

Zebra finch.
Credit: iStockphoto/David Gluzman

Do special "human" genes provide the biological substrate for uniquely human traits, like language?

Genetic aberrations of the human FoxP2 gene impair speech production and comprehension, yet the relative contributions of FoxP2 to brain development and function are unknown.

Songbirds are a useful model to address this because, like human youngsters, they learn to vocalize by imitating the sounds of their elders.

Previously, Dr. Constance Sharff and colleagues found that, when young zebra finches learn to sing or when adult canaries change their song seasonally, FoxP2 is up-regulated in Area X, a brain region important for song learning.

Dr. Sebastian Haesler, Dr. Scharff, and colleagues experimentally reduce FoxP2 levels in Area X before zebra finches started to learn their song. They used a virus-mediated RNA interference for the first time in songbird brains.

The birds, with lowered levels of FoxP2, imitated their tutor's song imprecisely and sang more variably than controls.

FoxP2 thus appears to be critical for proper song development.

These results suggest that humans and birds may employ similar molecular substrates for vocal learning, which can now be further analyzed in an experimental animal system.

Journal citation: Haesler S, Rochefort C, Georgi B, Licznerski P, Osten P, et al. (2007) Incomplete and inaccurate vocal imitation after knockdown of FoxP2 in songbird basal ganglianucleus Area X. PLoS Biol 5(12): e321. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0050321


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Gene Implicated In Human Language Affects Song Learning In Songbirds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 December 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071204091933.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2007, December 5). Gene Implicated In Human Language Affects Song Learning In Songbirds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071204091933.htm
Public Library of Science. "Gene Implicated In Human Language Affects Song Learning In Songbirds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071204091933.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) New research shows that women who suffer from PTSD are three times more likely to develop a food addiction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Corporal punishment in the United States is on the decline, but there is renewed debate over its use after Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was charged with child abuse. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins