Thursday, November 12, 2009

FOXP2 Speech Gene Shows Its Bossy Nature - NYTimes.com

FOXP2 Speech Gene Shows Its Bossy Nature - NYTimes.com: "Of the 20,000 genes in the human genome, few are more fascinating than FOXP2, a gene that underlies the faculty of human speech."

This year, one inquiry bore fruit, although of a somewhat ambiguous nature, when biologists in Leipzig, Germany, genetically engineered a mouse with the human version of FOXP2 substituted for its own. The upgraded mice squeaked somewhat differently from plain mice and were born with subtle alterations in brain structure. But mice and people are rather distant cousins — their last common ancestor lived some 70 million years ago — and the human version of FOXP2 evidently was not able to exert a transformative effect on the mouse.


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