Sunday, June 28, 2009

Evidence Of Memory Seen In Songbird Brain

The point is that communication coming in changes the mRNA which makes proteins. If it's true in birds, it's probably true for humans. If that's true it might help make sense of the magic of typography and the role of print in learning.

Evidence Of Memory Seen In Songbird Brain:
"ScienceDaily (June 27, 2009) — When a zebra finch hears a new song from a member of its own species, the experience changes gene expression in its brain in unexpected ways, researchers report. The sequential switching on and off of thousands of genes after a bird hears a new tune offers a new picture of memory in the songbird brain.

The finding, detailed this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was a surprise, said principal investigator David Clayton, a professor of cell and developmental biology at the University of Illinois. He and his colleagues had not expected to see so many genes involved, and thought that any changes in gene activity after a bird heard a new song would quickly dissipate."
. . .The new study took a broad snapshot of gene activity in the brain. Using DNA microarray analysis, the researchers measured changes in levels of messenger RNAs in the auditory forebrain of finches exposed to a new song. These mRNAs are templates that allow the cell to translate individual genes into the proteins that do the work of the cells. Any surge or drop in the number of mRNAs in brain cells after a stimulus offers clues to how the brain is responding.

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