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The zebra finch is an important model organism in several fields with unique relevance to human neuroscience. Like other songbirds, the zebra finch communicates through learned vocalizations, an ability otherwise documented only in humans and a few other animals and lacking in the chicken-the only bird with a sequenced genome until now. Here we present a(More)
To better determine the history of modern birds, we performed a genome-scale phylogenetic analysis of 48 species representing all orders of Neoaves using phylogenomic methods created to handle genome-scale data. We recovered a highly resolved tree that confirms previously controversial sister or close relationships. We identified the first divergence in(More)
The oscine song system, a set of interconnected brain nuclei involved in song production and learning, is one of the first and clearest examples of brain sexual dimorphism in a vertebrate, being typically well-developed in males, but not females. Here we present evidence for a sexual dimorphism in the caudomedial nidopallidum (NCM), an auditory area outside(More)
BACKGROUND Songbirds hold great promise for biomedical, environmental and evolutionary research. A complete draft sequence of the zebra finch genome is imminent, yet a need remains for application of genomic resources within a research community traditionally focused on ethology and neurobiological methods. In response, we developed a core set of genomic(More)
Song-learning birds and humans share independently evolved similarities in brain pathways for vocal learning that are essential for song and speech and are not found in most other species. Comparisons of brain transcriptomes of song-learning birds and humans relative to vocal nonlearners identified convergent gene expression specializations in specific song(More)
BACKGROUND Vocal learning is a rare and complex behavioral trait that serves as a basis for the acquisition of human spoken language. In songbirds, vocal learning and production depend on a set of specialized brain nuclei known as the song system. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS Using high-throughput functional genomics we have identified approximately 200(More)
Molecular analyses of Aplysia, a well-established model organism for cellular and systems neural science, have been seriously handicapped by a lack of adequate genomic information. By sequencing cDNA libraries from the central nervous system (CNS), we have identified over 175,000 expressed sequence tags (ESTs), of which 19,814 are unique neuronal gene(More)
The discovery that the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) endocrine stress axis controls an alternative splicing decision in chromaffin Slo-encoded BK (big potassium) channels raised the possibility that activation of the HPA could serve as a mechanism to tune the intrinsic electrical properties of epinephrine-secreting adrenal chromaffin cells. To(More)
We describe a set of new comprehensive, high-quality, high-resolution digital images of histological sections from the brain of male zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) and make them publicly available through an interactive website (http://zebrafinch.brainarchitecture.org/). These images provide a basis for the production of a dimensionally accurate and(More)
A fundamental question in molecular neurobiology is how genes that determine basic neuronal properties shape the functional organization of brain circuits underlying complex learned behaviors. Given the growing availability of complete vertebrate genomes, comparative genomics represents a promising approach to address this question. Here we used genomics(More)