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Neurogenetics of Vocal Communication Group -

Research Description

Our group is studying vocal communication in mammals, as a way to understand the biological basis of human speech and language and how this trait evolved.

Many species of mammal, including our primate cousins, have limited vocal repertoires. But a few mammals such as bats, whales and elephants use complex and varied vocalizations that share some characteristics with human speech such as the ability to learn vocalizations from other members of their social group.

Currently very little is known about the genetic basis for these sophisticated vocal behaviours in non-human mammals. Studying such species could provide clues about how human language evolved, and how language abilities are encoded in the brain and the genome.

 

 

 

We study bats to understand the neurogenetic bases of vocal learning and social-vocal communication. We are using cutting-edge molecular techniques to identify genes and neural circuits that are important for vocal communication and learned vocalisations in bats

We also investigate the causes of language disorders in clinical populations to gain insight into the causes of these disorders, but also to understand the genetic factors underlying normal language development.

Candidate genes identified in clinical populations are also explored in our animal models to understand what role they play and why their disruption leads to language related disorders.

 

 

 

 

Last checked 2018-07-08 by Sonja Vernes

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