Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Twitter genes: German scientists contribute to decoding the first songbird genome

Date:
April 1, 2010
Source:
Freie Universitaet Berlin
Summary:
Biologists at Freie Universität Berlin together with bioinformaticians and genome experts at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics teamed up as the only German team with another 20 international research groups to decode the first genome of a songbird, the Australian zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata).

Biologists at Freie Universität Berlin together with bioinformaticians and genome experts at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics teamed up as the only German team with another 20 international research groups to decode the first genome of a songbird, the Australian zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata).

The results were published in the current issue of Nature.

Mice, the most common model organism in biology, are not suitable to address certain questions: How do birds learn to sing, and what parallels exist between the acquisition of birdsong and human speech in children? How do male and female brains differ? Of what use are new nerve cells in adult brains? During the past two decades the zebra finch has become the most widely used model organism for questions like these. With the genome sequence of the zebra finch now available, such questions will be answered faster and they can be better translated to human biology. This will lead to a better understanding of genetic diseases. One hereditary speech disease, for example, is caused by mutations in the FOXP2 gene. Zebra finches require that very same gene for song learning.

This fascinating parallel was discovered in the lab of Prof Constance Scharff at Freie Universität Berlin, who is also a senior author on the genome study appearing on April 1st in Nature. Scharff's doctoral student, Iris Adam, initiated collaboration between bioinformaticians and genome experts at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics. Together they used new sequence technology for the first time on songbirds.

The researchers discovered that the songbird brain actively uses the information of ten thousand genes, more than half of the entire genome. They specifically compared how the activity of those ten thousand genes differs between young finches that are just learning song and old finches that have finished learning. Follow-up studies will identify genes that contribute to song learning, and eventually may also inform us how children learn to speak.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Freie Universitaet Berlin. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Freie Universitaet Berlin. "Twitter genes: German scientists contribute to decoding the first songbird genome." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 April 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100401101523.htm>.
Freie Universitaet Berlin. (2010, April 1). Twitter genes: German scientists contribute to decoding the first songbird genome. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100401101523.htm
Freie Universitaet Berlin. "Twitter genes: German scientists contribute to decoding the first songbird genome." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100401101523.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) — Dairy farmers and ethnic groups in Vermont are both benefiting from a unique collaborative effort that's feeding a growing need for fresh and affordable goat meat. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Great British Farmland Boom

The Great British Farmland Boom

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 17, 2014) — Britain's troubled Co-operative Group is preparing to cash in on nearly 18,000 acres of farmland in one of the biggest UK land sales in decades. As Ivor Bennett reports, the market timing couldn't be better, with farmland prices soaring over 270 percent in the last 10 years. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction

Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) — With plenty of honking, flapping, and fluttering, more than three dozen Caribbean flamingos at Zoo Miami were rounded up today as the iconic exhibit was closed for renovations. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 16, 2014) — Crocodile farming has been a challenge in Zimbabwe in recent years do the economic collapse and the financial crisis. But as Ciara Sutton reports one of Europe's biggest suppliers of skins to the luxury market has come up with an unusual survival strategy - vegetarian food. Video provided by Reuters
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