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 Zebra Finch

UK scientists have cracked the genetic code of a songbird for the first time with the aim of finding clues to the nature of human speech.

Similar to human babies, baby songbirds learn to sing by imitating their parents and eventually pass this capability to the next generation; studying these birds can, therefore, help researchers understand human learning and memory models.

“There are experiments that can be done that immediately provide information as to what changes occur in neurons (brain cells) upon the learning of a song. The zebra finch genome provides a tool that allows this exploration,” said lead researcher Chris Ponting.

According to a study published in Nature, more than 800 genes identified in the songbird genome are linked with song learning.

The non-coding DNA stretches on the genome, previously called “junk DNA,” serve a key biological function.

Scientists hope their findings will provide them with a window into the origins of a wide range of human speech and communication disorders from autism to stroke and Parkinson’s disease.   

Source:  http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=122450&sectionid=3510208



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