Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info

The LINGUIST List is dedicated to providing information on language and language analysis, and to providing the discipline of linguistics with the infrastructure necessary to function in the digital world. LINGUIST is a free resource, run by linguistics students and faculty, and supported primarily by your donations. Please support LINGUIST List during the 2016 Fund Drive.

Media: Human Language Gene Changes How Mice Squeak

Submitter: Dave Sayers

Submitter Email: dave.sayers@cantab.net
Linguistic Field(s): Psycholinguistics
Neurolinguistics
Cognitive Science
Language Acquisition

Media Body: View the full article here:
http://science.slashdot.org/story/09/05/30/0327219/Human-Language-Gene-Changes-How-Mice-Squeak?art_pos=1


Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in
Leipzig, Germany have engineered a mouse whose FOXP2 gene has been swapped
out for a different (human) version. This is interesting because the gene
is implicated in human language, and this has changed how mice squeak. 'In
a region of the brain called the basal ganglia, known in people to be
involved in language, the humanized mice grew nerve cells that had a more
complex structure. Baby mice utter ultrasonic whistles when removed from
their mothers. The humanized baby mice, when isolated, made whistles that
had a slightly lower pitch, among other differences, Dr. Enard says. Dr.
Enard argues that putting significant human genes into mice is the only
feasible way of exploring the essential differences between people and
chimps, our closest living relatives.' The academic paper was published in
Cell.
Issue Number: 20.2028
Date Posted: June 01, 2009