Singing under the influence: Examining the effects of nutrition and addiction on a learned vocal behavior

Peter V. Lovell, Christopher R. Olson, Claudio V. Mello

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

The songbird model is widely established in a number of laboratories for the investigation of the neurobiology and development of vocal learning. While vocal learning is rare in the animal kingdom, it is a trait that songbirds share with humans. The neuroanatomical and physiological organization of the brain circuitry that controls learned vocalizations has been extensively characterized, particularly in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata). Recently, several powerful molecular and genomic tools have become available in this organism, making it an attractive choice for neurobiologists interested in the neural and genetic basis of a complex learned behavior. Here, we briefly review some of the main features of vocal learning and associated brain structures in zebra finches and comment on some examples that illustrate how themes related to nutrition and addiction can be explored using this model organism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)175-184
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Neurobiology
Volume44
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2011

Keywords

  • Alcohol
  • Auditory
  • Cannabinoids
  • Drug addiction
  • Gene expression
  • Nutrition
  • Retinoic acid
  • Reward
  • Songbird
  • Vitamin A

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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