Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mice show innate ability to vocalize: Deaf or not, courting male mice make same sounds

Date:
March 26, 2013
Source:
Washington State University
Summary:
While humans and birds must learn to vocalize, a neurophysiologist has found that deaf male mice will vocalize to females the same way as hearing mice. The finding points the way to a more finely focused, genetic tool for teasing out the mysteries of speech and its disorders.

Scientists have long thought mice might be a model for how humans learn to vocalize. But new research has found that, unlike humans and songbirds, mice do not learn to vocalize.
Credit: Vera Kuttelvaserova / Fotolia

Scientists have long thought mice might be a model for how humans learn to vocalize. But new research led by scientists at Washington State University Vancouver has found that, unlike humans and songbirds, mice do not learn to vocalize.

Related Articles


The results, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, point the way to a more finely focused, genetic tool for teasing out the mysteries of speech and its disorders.

To see if mice learn to vocalize, WSU neurophysiologist Christine Portfors destroyed the ear hair cells in more than a dozen newborn male mice. The cells convert sound waves into electrical signals processed by the brain, making hearing possible.

The deaf mice were then raised with hearing mice in a normal social environment.

Portfors and her fellow researchers, including WSU graduate student Elena Mahrt, used males because they are particularly exuberant vocalizers in the presence of females.

"We can elicit vocalization behavior in males really easily by just putting them with a female," Portfors said. "They vocalize like crazy."

And it turned out that it didn't matter if the mouse was deaf or not. The researchers catalogued essentially the same suite of ultrasonic sounds from both the deaf and hearing mice. "It means that they don't need to hear to be able to produce their sounds, their vocalizations," Portfors said. "Basically, they don't need to hear themselves. They don't need auditory feedback. They don't need to learn."

The finding means mice are out as a model to study vocal learning. However, scientists can now focus on the mouse to learn the genetic mechanism behind communication disorders.

"If you don't have learning as a variable, you can look at the genetic control of these things," Portfors said. "You can look at the genetic control of the output of the signal. It's not messed up by an animal that's been in a particular learning situation."

Portfors and Mahrt did their research in collaboration with scientists at the University of Washington. The study was funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Institute for Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Washington State University. The original article was written by Eric Sorensen. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Washington State University. "Mice show innate ability to vocalize: Deaf or not, courting male mice make same sounds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130326194113.htm>.
Washington State University. (2013, March 26). Mice show innate ability to vocalize: Deaf or not, courting male mice make same sounds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130326194113.htm
Washington State University. "Mice show innate ability to vocalize: Deaf or not, courting male mice make same sounds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130326194113.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) Price check on honey? Bear cub startles Oregon drugstore shoppers. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) One man is on a mission to boost the population of wolves in China's violence-wracked far west. The animal - symbol of the Uighur minority there - is under threat with a massive human resettlement program in the region. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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