Thursday, December 12, 2019

Birds Songs Show Patterns of Gene Activities

Image of the Day: Species-Specific Songs

Songbirds species-specific tunes show patterns of gene activity in clusters of neurons called song nuclei. This gene activity is unique to their own species. After looking at the gene expression in the song nuclei of three finch species they identified the genes that are differentially active, and it was discovered 10 percent of the genes in the song nuclei were differentially expressed between the two finch species. These differences could be the reasons the songs of the birds differ. To test these studies they took baby zebra finches, and raised them with adult owl finches to see what songs the birds would sing. The young did learn to mimic the adults songs, but some characteristics resembled the songs sung by their own species. They were never taught these songs, so this suggests that song learning is regulated by genetic differences. With further research this could contribute to understanding how changes in gene regulation could eventually lead to the evolution of species-specific animal behaviors.


Similar Article:

1 comment:

  1. I almost did this same article! I found it interesting because it never occurred to me that a gene could tell a bird what song he or she should sing. Or any organism of the matter. I used to think that the choice of song was from the result of a geographic location of a certain species. Now I wonder if all birds obtain a gene that tells them what song to sing? Maybe it influences the mating call as well!