As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Wild Sparrow Study Traces Social Behaviors in the Field to Specific Gene

Jan. 14, 2014 — A unique study of the white-throated sparrow has identified a biological pathway connecting variation in the birds' aggression and parenting behaviors in the wild to variation in their genome.

The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) is publishing the results of the experiments, conducted by the lab of neuroscientist Donna Maney in Emory's Department of Psychology.

The research, which comprised behavioral observations of the study subjects in the field and laboratory analyses of their gene expression in the brain, showed that variation in the expression of the estrogen receptor alpha (ER-alpha) gene strongly predicts the birds' behavior.


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