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A line of dopamine-deficient (DD) mice was generated to allow selective restoration of normal dopamine signaling to specific brain regions. These DD floxed stop (DDfs) mice have a nonfunctional Tyrosine hydroxylase (Th) gene because of insertion of a NeoR gene flanked by lox P sites targeted to the first intron of the Th gene. DDfs mice have trace brain(More)
Area X is a songbird basal ganglia nucleus that is required for vocal learning. Both Area X and its immediate surround, the medial striatum (MSt), contain cells displaying either striatal or pallidal characteristics. We used pathway-tracing techniques to compare directly the targets of Area X and MSt with those of the lateral striatum (LSt) and globus(More)
Dopamine has been implicated in mediating contextual modulation of motor behaviors and learning in many species. In songbirds, dopamine may act on the basal ganglia nucleus Area X to influence the neural activity that contributes to vocal learning and contextual changes in song variability. Neurons in midbrain dopamine centers, the substantia nigra pars(More)
The superficial superior colliculus (sSC) occupies a critical node in the mammalian visual system; it is one of two major retinorecipient areas, receives visual cortical input, and innervates visual thalamocortical circuits. Nonetheless, the contribution of sSC neurons to downstream neural activity and visually guided behavior is unknown and frequently(More)
Vocal learning in songbirds requires an anatomically discrete and functionally dedicated circuit called the anterior forebrain pathway (AFP). The AFP is homologous to cortico-basal ganglia-thalamo-cortical loops in mammals. The basal ganglia portion of this pathway, Area X, shares many features characteristic of the mammalian striatum and pallidum,(More)
Dopaminergic neurons in mammals respond to rewards and reward-predicting cues, and are thought to play an important role in learning actions or sensory cues that lead to reward. The anatomical sources of input that drive or modulate such responses are not well understood; these ultimately define the range of behavior to which dopaminergic neurons(More)
A striking feature of the nervous system is that it shows extensive plasticity of structure and function that allows animals to adjust to changes in their environment. Neural activity plays a key role in mediating experience-dependent neural plasticity and, thus, creates a link between the external environment, the nervous system, and behavior. One dramatic(More)
UNLABELLED Neurons respond to specific features of sensory stimuli. In the visual system, for example, some neurons respond to motion of small but not large objects, whereas other neurons prefer motion of the entire visual field. Separate neurons respond equally to local and global motion but selectively to additional features of visual stimuli. How and(More)
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