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https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/29162376/developmental-song-learning-as-a-model-to-understand-neural-mechanisms-that-limit-and-promote-the-ability-to-learn
#1
REVIEW
Sarah E London
Songbirds famously learn their vocalizations. Some species can learn continuously, others seasonally, and still others just once. The zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) learns to sing during a single developmental "Critical Period," a restricted phase during which a specific experience has profound and permanent effects on brain function and behavioral patterns. The zebra finch can therefore provide fundamental insight into features that promote and limit the ability to acquire complex learned behaviors. For example, what properties permit the brain to come "on-line" for learning? How does experience become encoded to prevent future learning? What features define the brain in receptive compared to closed learning states? This piece will focus on epigenomic, genomic, and molecular levels of analysis that operate on the timescales of development and complex behavioral learning...
November 18, 2017: Behavioural Processes
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/29158983/adult-zebra-finches-rehearse-highly-variable-song-patterns-during-sleep
#2
Brent K Young, Gabriel B Mindlin, Ezequiel Arneodo, Franz Goller
Brain activity during sleep is fairly ubiquitous and the best studied possible function is a role in memory consolidation, including motor memory. One suggested mechanism of how neural activity effects these benefits is through reactivation of neurons in patterns resembling those of the preceding experience. The specific patterns of motor activation replayed during sleep are largely unknown for any system. Brain areas devoted to song production in the songbird brain exhibit spontaneous song-like activity during sleep, but single cell neural recordings did not permit detection of the specific song patterns...
2017: PeerJ
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/29138966/postnatal-nutrition-influences-male-attractiveness-and-promotes-plasticity-in-male-mating-preferences
#3
José C Noguera, Neil B Metcalfe, Pat Monaghan
Poor early-life nutrition could reduce adult reproductive success by negatively affecting traits linked to sexual attractiveness such as song complexity. If so, this might favor strategic mate choice, allowing males with less complex songs to tailor their mating tactics to maximize the reproductive benefits. However, this possibility has been ignored in theoretical and empirical studies. By manipulating the micronutrient content of the diet (e.g., low or high) during the postnatal period of male zebra finches, we show for the first time (1) that males reared on a poor (low) micronutrient diet had less complex songs as adults; (2) that these males, in contrast to the high micronutrient diet group, were more selective in their mating strategies, discriminating against those females most likely to reduce their clutch size when paired with males having less complex songs; and (3) that by following different mating strategies, males reared on the contrasting diets obtained similar reproductive benefits...
November 14, 2017: Die Naturwissenschaften
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/29122641/regularities-in-zebra-finch-song-beyond-the-repeated-motif
#4
Julia Hyland Bruno, Ofer Tchernichovski
The proliferation of birdsong research into the neural mechanisms of vocal learning is indebted to the remarkable stereotypy of the zebra finch's song motif. Motifs are composed of several copied syllables, which birds learn to produce in a fixed order. But at a higher level of organization-the bout-zebra finch song is no longer stereotyped. Song bouts include several repetitions of the motif, which are often linked by a variable number of short "connector" vocalizations. In this conceptual methods paper, we show that combinatorial analysis alone yields an incomplete description of this bout-level structure...
November 6, 2017: Behavioural Processes
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/29120216/bridging-the-gap-learning-of-acoustic-nonadjacent-dependencies-by-a-songbird
#5
Jiani Chen, Carel Ten Cate
Many animal species can detect dependencies between adjacent visual or auditory items in a string. Compared with adjacent dependencies, detecting nonadjacent dependencies, as present in linguistic constructions, is more challenging as this requires detecting a relation between items irrespective of the number and nature of the intervening items. There is limited evidence that nonhuman animals can detect such dependencies. An animal group in which such abilities might be expected is songbirds, which have learned songs consisting of a series of vocal elements given in specific sequences...
July 2017: Journal of Experimental Psychology. Animal Learning and Cognition
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/29118129/admixture-mapping-in-a-hybrid-zone-reveals-loci-associated-with-avian-feather-coloration
#6
Alan Brelsford, David P L Toews, Darren E Irwin
Identifying the genetic bases for colour patterns has provided important insights into the control and expression of pigmentation and how these characteristics influence fitness. However, much more is known about the genetic bases for traits based on melanin pigments than for traits based on another major class of pigments, carotenoids. Here, we use natural admixture in a hybrid zone between Audubon's and myrtle warblers (Setophaga coronata auduboni/S. c. coronata) to identify genomic regions associated with both types of pigmentation...
November 15, 2017: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/29118103/familiar-but-unexpected-effects-of-sound-context-statistics-on-auditory-responses-in-the-songbird-forebrain
#7
Kai Lu, David S Vicario
Rapid discrimination of salient acoustic signals in the noisy natural environment may depend not only on specific stimulus features, but also on previous experience that generates expectations about upcoming events. We studied the neural correlates of expectation in the songbird forebrain by using natural vocalizations as stimuli and manipulating the category and familiarity of context sounds. In our paradigm, we recorded bilaterally from auditory neurons in awake adult male zebra finches with multiple microelectrodes during repeated playback of a conspecific song, followed by further playback of this test song in different interleaved sequences with other conspecific or heterospecific songs...
November 8, 2017: Journal of Neuroscience: the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/29089517/songbirds-work-around-computational-complexity-by-learning-song-vocabulary-independently-of-sequence
#8
Dina Lipkind, Anja T Zai, Alexander Hanuschkin, Gary F Marcus, Ofer Tchernichovski, Richard H R Hahnloser
While acquiring motor skills, animals transform their plastic motor sequences to match desired targets. However, because both the structure and temporal position of individual gestures are adjustable, the number of possible motor transformations increases exponentially with sequence length. Identifying the optimal transformation towards a given target is therefore a computationally intractable problem. Here we show an evolutionary workaround for reducing the computational complexity of song learning in zebra finches...
November 1, 2017: Nature Communications
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/29080113/no-effect-of-lifelong-methylmercury-exposure-on-oxidative-status-in-zebra-finches-taeniopygia-guttata-a-demonstration-of-methylmercury-induced-selection
#9
John W Finger, Juan Botero, Yufeng Zhang, Shelby E Still, Alexander J Hoffman, Andreas N Kavazis, Daniel A Cristol, Haruka Wada
Songbirds exposed to methylmercury (MeHg) often exhibit reduced reproductive success and cognitive abilities. To better understand whether oxidative stress plays a role, we dosed zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) with a contaminated (1.2 ppm MeHg-cysteine) or control diet for their entire lives, including during development in the egg. Levels of antioxidant enzymes [superoxide dismutase (SOD1 and SOD2)], oxidative damage (4-hydroxynonenal; 4-HNE), and antioxidant transcription factors [nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2; Nrf2] were measured in the liver and pectoralis muscle of adults...
October 27, 2017: Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/29079676/sex-biased-microrna-expression-in-mammals-and-birds-reveals-underlying-regulatory-mechanisms-and-a-role-in-dosage-compensation
#10
Maria Warnefors, Katharina Mössinger, Jean Halbert, Tania Studer, John L VandeBerg, Isa Lindgren, Amir Fallahshahroudi, Per Jensen, Henrik Kaessmann
Sexual dimorphism depends on sex-biased gene expression, but the contributions of microRNAs (miRNAs) have not been globally assessed. We therefore produced an extensive small RNA sequencing data set to analyze male and female miRNA expression profiles in mouse, opossum, and chicken. Our analyses uncovered numerous cases of somatic sex-biased miRNA expression, with the largest proportion found in the mouse heart and liver. Sex-biased expression is explained by miRNA-specific regulation, including sex-biased chromatin accessibility at promoters, rather than piggybacking of intronic miRNAs on sex-biased protein-coding genes...
October 27, 2017: Genome Research
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/29074327/thyrotropic-activity-of-corticotropin-releasing-hormone-in-an-altricial-bird-species-the-zebra-finch-taeniopygia-guttata
#11
Yugo Watanabe, Sylvia V H Grommen, Bert De Groef
In chicken, corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) acts as a thyrotropin (TSH)-releasing factor, mediated by the type 2 CRH receptor (CRHR2) on the thyrotropes of the pituitary gland. It is not known whether CRH also controls TSH release in non-precocial avian species that have a different pattern of thyroidal activity during their life cycle. Therefore, we investigated the TSH-releasing capacity of CRH in an altricial species, the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata). Cellular localisation of type 1 CRH receptor (CRHR1) and CRHR2 mRNA in the pituitary was determined by in situ hybridisation, combined with immunohistochemical staining of pituitary thyrotropes...
October 23, 2017: General and Comparative Endocrinology
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/29070589/mitochondria-targeted-molecules-determine-the-redness-of-the-zebra-finch-bill
#12
Alejandro Cantarero, Carlos Alonso-Alvarez
The evolution and production mechanisms of red carotenoid-based ornaments in animals are poorly understood. Recently, it has been suggested that enzymes transforming yellow carotenoids to red pigments (ketolases) in animal cells may be positioned in the inner mitochondrial membrane (IMM) intimately linked to the electron transport chain. These enzymes may mostly synthesize coenzyme Q10 (coQ10), a key redox-cycler antioxidant molecularly similar to yellow carotenoids. It has been hypothesized that this shared pathway favours the evolution of red traits as sexually selected individual quality indices by revealing a well-adjusted oxidative metabolism...
October 2017: Biology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/29062887/neuronal-intrinsic-physiology-changes-during-development-of-a-learned-behavior
#13
Matthew T Ross, Diana Flores, Richard Bertram, Frank Johnson, Richard L Hyson
Juvenile male zebra finches learn their songs over distinct auditory and sensorimotor stages, the former requiring exposure to an adult tutor song pattern. The cortical premotor nucleus HVC (acronym is name) plays a necessary role in both learning stages, as well as the production of adult song. Consistent with neural network models where synaptic plasticity mediates developmental forms of learning, exposure to tutor song drives changes in the turnover, density, and morphology of HVC synapses during vocal development...
September 2017: ENeuro
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/29051725/song-processing-in-the-zebra-finch-auditory-forebrain-reflects-asymmetric-sensitivity-to-temporal-and-spectral-structure
#14
Lisbeth Van Ruijssevelt, Stuart D Washington, Julie Hamaide, Marleen Verhoye, Georgios A Keliris, Annemie Van der Linden
Despite being commonly referenced throughout neuroscientific research on songbirds, reports of hemispheric specialization in the processing of song remain controversial. The notion of such asymmetries in songbirds is further complicated by evidence that both cerebral hemispheres in humans may be specialized for different aspects of speech perception. Some studies suggest that the auditory neural substrates in the left and right hemispheres of humans process temporal and spectral elements within speech sounds, respectively...
2017: Frontiers in Neuroscience
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/29051552/auditory-evoked-bold-responses-in-awake-compared-to-lightly-anaesthetized-zebra-finches
#15
L Van Ruijssevelt, J Hamaide, M T Van Gurp, M Verhoye, A Van der Linden
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is increasingly used in cognitive neuroscience and has become a valuable tool in the study of auditory processing in zebra finches, a well-established model of learned vocal communication. Due to its sensitivity to head motion, most fMRI studies in animals are performed in anaesthetized conditions, which might significantly impact neural activity evoked by stimuli and cognitive tasks. In this study, we (1) demonstrate the feasibility of fMRI in awake zebra finches and (2) explore how light anaesthesia regimes affect auditory-evoked BOLD responses to biologically relevant songs...
October 19, 2017: Scientific Reports
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/29051225/strong-association-between-corticosterone-and-temperature-dependent-metabolic-rate-in-individual-zebra-finches
#16
Blanca Jimeno, Michaela Hau, Simon Verhulst
Glucocorticoid hormones (GCs) are often assumed to be indicators of stress. At the same time, one of their fundamental roles is to facilitate metabolic processes to accommodate changes in energetic demands. While the metabolic function of GCs is thought to be ubiquitous across vertebrates, we are not aware of experiments which tested this directly, i.e., in which metabolic rate was manipulated and measured together with GCs. We therefore tested for a relationship between plasma corticosterone (CORT, ln transformed) and metabolic rate (MR, measured using indirect calorimetry) in a between- and within-individual design in captive zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) of both sexes...
October 19, 2017: Journal of Experimental Biology
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/29046578/a-sex-linked-supergene-controls-sperm-morphology-and-swimming-speed-in-a-songbird
#17
Kang-Wook Kim, Clair Bennison, Nicola Hemmings, Lola Brookes, Laura L Hurley, Simon C Griffith, Terry Burke, Tim R Birkhead, Jon Slate
Sperm competition is an important selective force in many organisms. As a result, sperm have evolved to be among the most diverse cells in the animal kingdom. However, the relationship between sperm morphology, sperm motility and fertilization success is only partially understood. The extent to which between-male variation is heritable is largely unknown, and remarkably few studies have investigated the genetic architecture of sperm traits, especially sperm morphology. Here we use high-density genotyping and gene expression profiling to explore the considerable sperm trait variation that exists in the zebra finch Taeniopygia guttata...
August 2017: Nature ecology & evolution
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/29046576/a-sex-chromosome-inversion-causes-strong-overdominance-for-sperm-traits-that-affect-siring-success
#18
Ulrich Knief, Wolfgang Forstmeier, Yifan Pei, Malika Ihle, Daiping Wang, Katrin Martin, Pavlína Opatová, Jana Albrechtová, Michael Wittig, Andre Franke, Tomáš Albrecht, Bart Kempenaers
Male reproductive success depends on the competitive ability of sperm to fertilize the ova, which should lead to strong selection on sperm characteristics. This raises the question of how heritable variation in sperm traits is maintained. Here we show that in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) nearly half of the variance in sperm morphology is explained by an inversion on the Z chromosome with a 40% allele frequency in the wild. The sperm of males that are heterozygous for the inversion had the longest midpieces and the highest velocity...
August 2017: Nature ecology & evolution
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/29045655/determinants-of-the-efficacy-of-natural-selection-on-coding-and-noncoding-variability-in-two-passerine-species
#19
Pádraic Corcoran, Toni I Gossmann, Henry J Barton, Jon Slate, Kai Zeng
Population genetic theory predicts that selection should be more effective when the effective population size (Ne) is larger, and that the efficacy of selection should correlate positively with recombination rate. Here, we analyzed the genomes of ten great tits and ten zebra finches. Nucleotide diversity at 4-fold degenerate sites indicates that zebra finches have a 2.83-fold larger Ne. We obtained clear evidence that purifying selection is more effective in zebra finches. The proportion of substitutions at 0-fold degenerate sites fixed by positive selection (α) is high in both species (great tit 48%; zebra finch 64%) and is significantly higher in zebra finches...
November 1, 2017: Genome Biology and Evolution
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/29035135/draft-de-novo-genome-sequence-of-agapornis-roseicollis-for-application-in-avian-breeding
#20
Henriëtte van der Zwan, Francois van der Westhuizen, Carina Visser, Rencia van der Sluis
In aviculture, lovebirds are considered one of the most popular birds to keep. This African parakeet is known for its range of plumage colors and ease to tame. Plumage variation is the most important price-determining trait of these birds, and also the main selection criterion for breeders. Currently, no genetic screening tests for traits of economic importance or to confirm pedigree data are available for any of the nine lovebird species. As a starting point to develop these tests, the de novo genome of Agapornis roseicollis (rosy-faced lovebird) was sequenced, assembled, and annotated...
October 16, 2017: Animal Biotechnology
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