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Identification of a motor-to-auditory pathway important for vocal learning


Authors: Todd F Roberts, Erin Hisey, Masashi Tanaka, Matthew G Kearney, Gaurav Chattree, Cindy F Yang, Nirao M Shah, Richard Mooney
Publication: Nature Neuroscience
Date: May 15, 2017
Link to article: https://www.nature.com/articles/nn.4563


Learning to vocalize depends on the ability to adaptively modify the temporal and spectral features of vocal elements. Neurons that convey motor-related signals to the auditory system are theorized to facilitate vocal learning, but the identity and function of such neurons remain unknown. Here we identify a previously unknown neuron type in the songbird brain that transmits vocal motor signals to the auditory cortex. Genetically ablating these neurons in juveniles disrupted their ability to imitate features of an adult tutor’s song.

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