Navigation Links
Mouse model provides clues to human language development
Date:6/24/2009

In the brains of the mice the researchers found alterations which may be closely linked to speech and language development. Their analyses comprise part of an international study led by the Leipzig Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. The findings have been published in the current issue of the renowned journal Cell.

Scientists of the German Mouse Clinic at Helmholtz Zentrum Mnchen have generated and analyzed a mouse model in which parts of the human Foxp2 gene were introduced. Foxp2 is known to be a key gene for language. Since the human and chimpanzee lineages diverged, only minimal genetic alterations have occurred, even with reference to the mouse: The alterations, as scientists surmised, are closely associated with speech and language ability. However, proof on a functional level has been lacking until now.

The Helmholtz scientists in the German Mouse Clinic conduct comprehensive analyses to elucidate which organs are influenced by a gene in this case the Foxp2 gene. "It is rare for a gene to have only one function," explained Professor Martin Hrab de Angelis, director of the German Mouse Clinic. That is why a comprehensive research approach like that of the German Mouse Clinic is so crucial to ensure that relevant gene functions can be identified in the mouse phenotype.

The study of the Foxp2 mice was funded within the scope of the National Genome Research Network (NGFN). As with each mouse lineage studied in the German Mouse Clinic, the Helmholtz scientists analyzed the Foxp2 mice by screening for more than 300 parameters, including the ability to see and hear, bone density, important metabolic functions and a number of neurological functions. The mice carrying the humanized Foxp2 gene showed no physiological abnormalities. However, behavioral tests showed an altered exploratory behavior and reduced movement activity both results point to altered brain functions. Further investigations carried out by the colleagues in Leipzig supported and confirmed the findings.

In a second step to further substantiate this hypothesis, the Helmholtz scientists analyzed the heterozygous knockout mouse model in which one of the normally two copies of the Foxp2 gene is missing. This loss leads to serious changes: The ability of the mice to hear and learn is diminished in comparison to their healthy littermates; they have more fat and less muscle, and they eat more and consume more energy. Moreover, they have altered blood parameters.

"We were able to show that the Foxp2 gene has significant influence on various organ systems," Martin Hrab de Angelis said. "Our research supports the hypothesis of our colleagues in Leipzig that specifically these alterations in the brain were the evolutionary step that gave humans the advantage of speech and language." Furthermore, the involvement of the Hrab de Angelis team in the Leipzig study demonstrates the usefulness of the German Mouse Clinic. Only through broad-based, comprehensive analysis can scientists recognize even unexpected effects of genetic defects and thus identify additional functions of known genes.


'/>"/>

Contact: Sven Winkler
presse@helmholtz-muenchen.de
49-893-187-3946
Helmholtz Zentrum Mnchen - German Research Center for Environmental Health
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Engineered pig stem cells bridge the mouse-human gap
2. Caffeic acid inhibits colitis in a mouse model -- is a drug-metabolizing gene crucial?
3. A new mouse model provides insight into genetic neurological disorders
4. Diminuendo -- New mouse model for understanding cause of progressive hearing loss
5. Mouse model provides a new tool for investigators of human developmental disorder
6. CSHL team develops mouse models of leukemia that predict response to chemotherapy
7. Brain building: Study shows brain growth tied to cell division in mouse embryos
8. A worm-and-mouse tale: B cells deserve more respect
9. Salk researchers develop novel glioblastoma mouse model
10. Peering inside the skull of a mouse to solve meningitis mystery
11. Multiple sclerosis research charges ahead with new mouse model of disease
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/3/2016)... -- Vigilant Solutions announces today that the ... solved two recent hit-and-run cases with the ... Solutions. Brian Wenberg explains, "I was ... out of a convenience store and witnessed an elderly male back out ... his vehicle and leaving the scene.  In his statement ...
(Date:2/2/2016)... 2, 2016  BioMEMS devices deployed in ... on medical screening and diagnostic applications, such ... devices that facilitate and assure continuous monitoring ... are being bolstered through new opportunities offered ... acquisition coupled with wireless connectivity and low ...
(Date:2/2/2016)... NEW YORK , Feb. 2, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... Potentials of that Rising Market Are you ... new analysis forecasts revenues for checkpoint inhibitors. Visiongain,s ... world market, submarket, product and national level. ... Instead discover what progress, opportunities and revenues those ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/12/2016)... , Feb. 12, 2016  PTC Therapeutics, Inc. ... annual STRIVE (Strategies to Realize Innovation, Vision and ... (DMD). STRIVE provides funds to patient advocacy organizations ... make meaningful contributions to the rare disease community ... of future patient advocates. Mary ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... 2016  Vermillion, Inc. (NASDAQ: VRML ), a ... the formation of the Steering Committee for its Pelvic ... --> Pelvic masses can present physicians and healthcare ... pregnancy is ruled out, pelvic masses may include cancers ... benign ovarian tumors and gastrointestinal and urinary tract masses. ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... 2016  Wellcentive today announced it has been ... -based community care organization (CCO) with more ... quality reporting and care management solutions and services. ... of quality managers, analysts and care managers while ... serving FamilyCare members. Oregon ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... , Feb. 11, 2016   BioInformant announces ... "Stem Cell Research Products, Opportunities, Tools, and Technologies – ... The ... the stem cell industry, BioInformant has more than a ... stem cell market, by stem cell type. This powerful ...
Breaking Biology Technology: