A genetic understanding of language development through cognitive and neurogenetic studies: an exploration of the FOXP2 gene, songbird development, human language, and autism
AuthorAttias, Lior Rivka
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractIt is well known that FOXP2 has a connection to human language. In a familial case study of humans in one family with a mutated FOXP2, it was found that all members showed Developmental Verbal Dyspraxia, a cognitive language deficit. In knock out experiments in mice, it was found that FOXP2 is critical for Purkinje cell development in the brain as well as lung development. In FOXP2 knock out experiments in songbirds, it was found that songbirds could no longer learn new songs or cognitively understand song, which is used as a type of language in these animals. In knock in experiments with rats, it was found that rats with humanized FOXP2 show increased ability to switch between two central types of learning, a critical aspect of habit formation. It is thought that this habit formation is the basis of human language learning and development. Through a deep analysis of studies such as these, as well as of the genetic structure of FOXP2, it is hypothesized that the FOXP2 gene plays a critical role in allowing for appropriate connectivity on neurons in the brain, which could explain its role in language understanding and development, as well as its role in Autism in humans.
Degree ProgramHonors College
Neuroscience and Cognitive Science