DOI: https://doi.org/10.7203/metode.7.7248

Next stop: Language. The ‘FOXP2’ gene’s journey through time


Abstract


How did humans evolve language? The fossil record does not yield enough evidence to reconstruct its evolution and animals do not talk. But as the neural and molecular substrates of language are uncovered, their genesis and function can be addressed comparatively in other species. FOXP2 is such a case – a gene with a strong link to language that is also essential for learning in mice, birds and even flies. Comparing the role FOXP2 plays in humans and other animals is starting to reveal common principles that may have provided building blocks for language evolution.


Keywords


speech; language; sensory-motor learning; evo-devo; deep homology

Full Text:

PDF

References


  1. Bolhuis, J. J., Okanoya, K., & Scharff, C. (2010). Twitter evolution: Converging mechanisms in

  2. birdsong and human speech. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 11, 747–759. doi: 10.1038/nrn2931

  3. Condro, M. C., & White, S. A. (2014). Recent advances in the genetics of vocal learning. Comparative Cognition & Behavior Reviews, 9, 75–98. doi: 10.3819/ccbr.2014.90003

  4. DasGupta, S., Ferreira, C. H., & Miesenböck, G. (2014). FoxP influences the speed and accuracy of a perceptual decision in Drosophila. Science, 344, 901–904. doi: 10.1126/science.1252114

  5. Dennis, M. Y., Nuttle, X., Sudmant, P. H., Antonacci, F., Graves, T. A., Nefedov, M., … Eichler, E. E. (2012). Human-specific evolution of novel SRGAP2 genes by incomplete segmental duplication. Cell, 149, 912–922. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2012.03.033

  6. Enard, W., Gehre, S., Hammerschmidt, K., Hölter, S. M., Blass, T., Somel, M., … Pääbo, S. (2009). A humanized version of Foxp2 affects cortico-basal ganglia circuits in mice. Cell, 137, 961–971. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2009.03.041

  7. Friederici, A. D. (2006). The neural basis of language development and its impairment. Neuron, 52, 941–952. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2006.12.002

  8. Graham, S. A., & Fisher, S. E. (2015). Understanding language from a genomic perspective. Annual Review of Genetics, 49, 131–160. doi: 10.1146/annurev-genet-120213-092236

  9. Haesler, S., Rochefort, C., Georgi, B., Licznerski, P., Osten, P., & Scharff, C. (2007). Incomplete and inaccurate vocal imitation after knockdown of FoxP2 in songbird basal ganglia nucleus area X. PLoS Biology, 5, e321. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0050321

  10. Haesler, S., Wada, K., Nshdejan, A., Morrisey, E. E., Lints, T., Jarvis, E. D., & Scharff, C. (2004). FoxP2 expression in avian vocal learners and non-learners. The Journal of Neuroscience, 24, 3164–3175. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4369-03.2004

  11. Janik, V. M., & Slater, P. J. B. (1997). Vocal learning in mammals. In P. Slater, J. Rosenblatt, Ch. Snowdon, & M. Milinski (Eds.), Advances in the study of behavior. Vol. 24 (pp. 59–99). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

  12. Kiya, T., Itoh, Y., & Kubo, T. (2008). Expression analysis of the FoxP homologue in the brain of the honeybee, Apis mellifera. Insect Molecular Biology, 17, 53–60. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2583.2008.00775.x

  13. Knörnschild, M. (2014). Vocal production learning in bats. Current Opinion in Neurobiology, 28, 80–85. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2014.06.014

  14. Kuhl, P., & Meltzoff, A. (1982). The bimodal perception of speech in infancy. Science, 218, 1138–1141. doi: 10.1126/science.7146899

  15. Lai, C. S. L., Fisher, S. E., Hurst, J. A., Vargha-Khadem, F., & Monaco, A. P. (2001). A forkhead-domain gene is mutated in a severe speech and language disorder. Nature, 413, 519–523. doi: 10.1038/35097076

  16. Lawton, K. J., Wassmer, T. L., & Deitcher, D. L. (2014). Conserved role of Drosophila melanogaster FoxP in motor coordination and courtship song. Behavioural Brain Research, 268, 213–221. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2014.04.009

  17. Li, S., Wang, Y., Zhang, Y., Lu, M. M., DeMayo, F. J., Dekker, J. D., Tucker, P. W., & Morrisey, E. E. (2012). Foxp1/4 control epithelial cell fate during lung development and regeneration through regulation of anterior gradient 2. Development, 139, 2500–2509. doi: 10.1242/dev.079699

  18. Mendoza, E., Colomb, J., Rybak, J., Pflüger, H.-J., Zars, T., & Scharff, C. (2014). Drosophila FoxP mutants are deficient in operant self-learning. Plos One, 9(6), e100648. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0100648

  19. Murugan, M., Harward, S., Scharff, C., & Mooney, R. (2013). Diminished FoxP2 levels affect dopaminergic modulation of corticostriatal signaling important to song variability. Neuron, 80(6), 1464–1476. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2013.09.021

  20. Santos, M. E., Athanasiadis, A., Leitão, A. B., DuPasquier, L., & Sucena, É. (2011). Alternative splicing and gene duplication in the evolution of the FoxP gene subfamily. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 28, 237–247. doi: 10.1093/molbev/msq182

  21. Shimeld, S. M., Degnan, B., & Luke, G. N. (2010). Evolutionary genomics of the Fox genes: Origin of gene families and the ancestry of gene clusters. Genomics, 95, 256–260. doi: 10.1016/j.ygeno.2009.08.002

  22. Strausfeld, N. J., & Hirth, F. (2013). Deep homology of arthropod central complex and vertebrate basal ganglia. Science, 340, 157–161. doi: 10.1126/science.1231828

  23. Vargha-Khadem, F., Gadian, D. G., Copp, A., & Mishkin, M. (2005). FOXP2 and the neuroanatomy of speech and language. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 6, 131–138. doi: 10.1038/nrn1605

  24. Watkins, K. E., Dronkers, N. F., & Vargha-Khadem, F. (2002). Behavioural analysis of an inherited speech and language disorder: Comparison with acquired aphasia. Brain, 125, 452–464. doi: 10.1093/brain/awf058

  25. Wohlgemuth, S., Adam, I., & Scharff, C. (2014). FoxP2 in songbirds. Current Opinion in Neurobiology, 28, 86–93. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2014.06.009

  26. Zhang, G., Li, B., Li, C., Gilbert, M., Jarvis, E., Wang, J. & The Avian Genome Consortium (2014). Comparative genomic data of the Avian Phylogenomics Project. GigaScience, 3, 26. doi: 10.1186/2047-217x-3-26







Creative Commons License
Texts in the journal are –unless otherwise indicated– published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________