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 24, 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 24, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Monkeys Are Better At Math Than We Thought, Study Shows

Monkeys Are Better At Math Than We Thought, Study Shows

Newsy (Apr. 23, 2014) — A Harvard University study suggests monkeys can use symbols to perform basic math calculations. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India

Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) — A leopard caused panic in the city of Chandrapur on Monday when it sprung from the roof of a house and charged at rescue workers. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs

Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) — Drake University hosts 35th annual Beautiful Bulldog Contest. (April 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
805-Pound Shark Caught Off The Coast Of Florida

805-Pound Shark Caught Off The Coast Of Florida

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) — One Florida fisherman caught a 805-pound shark off the coast of Florida earlier this month. Video provided by Newsy
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