Monday, December 02, 2013

Gene Found in Human Speech Problems Affects Singing, Not Learning in Songbirds

A genetic defect that profoundly affects speech in humans also disrupts the ability of songbirds to sing effective courtship tunes. This defect in a gene called FoxP2 renders the brain circuitry insensitive to feel-good chemicals that serve as a reward for speaking the correct syllable or hitting the right note, a recent study shows...Though the researchers are cautious not to draw too many parallels between their findings in birds and the deficits in humans, they think their study does highlight the value of songbirds in studying human behaviors and disease. more

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