Genes Affect Bird Vocal Communication

CC Image from Wikimedia

CC Image from Wikimedia

By: Tulani M.

FoxP2 a genetic defect in humans that affects the way they speak, mostly causing stuttering and stammering in people, can also be found in songbirds, and can affect the male birds ability to sing courtship songs properly. In people, FoxP2 can cause stammering. The experiment conducted with zebrafinches helped scientists figure out why FoxP2 affects speech patterns in such a way. It numbs the brain to dopamine’s effects, which are good feelings. Even after the male birds learned to sing, when they had the FoxP2 mutation, they did not perform as well as those who did not have the genetic mutation. (Read more…)

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