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

e 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.


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

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