Title

The genome of a songbird

Authors

Wesley C. Warren, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis
David F. Clayton, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Hans Ellegren, Uppsala Universitet
Arthur P. Arnold, University of California, Los Angeles
Ladeana W. Hillier, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis
Axel Künstner, Uppsala Universitet
Steve Searle, Wellcome Sanger Institute
Simon White, Wellcome Sanger Institute
Albert J. Vilella, European Bioinformatics Institute
Susan Fairley, Wellcome Sanger Institute
Andreas Heger, University of Oxford
Lesheng Kong, University of Oxford
Chris P. Ponting, University of Oxford
Erich D. Jarvis, Duke University Medical Center
Claudio V. Mello, Oregon Health & Science University
Pat Minx, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis
Peter Lovell, Oregon Health & Science University
Tarciso A.F. Velho, Oregon Health & Science University
Margaret Ferris, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Christopher N. Balakrishnan, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Saurabh Sinha, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Charles Blatti, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Sarah E. London, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Yun Li, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Ya Chi Lin, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Julia George, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Jonathan Sweedler, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Bruce Southey, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Preethi Gunaratne, University of Houston
Michael Watson, The Pirbright Institute
Kiwoong Nam, Uppsala Universitet
Niclas Backström, Uppsala Universitet
Linnea Smeds, Uppsala Universitet
Benoit Nabholz, Uppsala Universitet

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

4-1-2010

Abstract

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 chickenthe only bird with a sequenced genome until now. Here we present a structural, functional and comparative analysis of the genome sequence of the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata), which is a songbird belonging to the large avian order Passeriformes. We find that the overall structures of the genomes are similar in zebra finch and chicken, but they differ in many intrachromosomal rearrangements, lineage-specific gene family expansions, the number of long-terminal-repeat- based retrotransposons, and mechanisms of sex chromosome dosage compensation. We show that song behaviour engages gene regulatory networks in the zebra finch brain, altering the expression of long non-coding RNAs, microRNAs, transcription factors and their targets. We also show evidence for rapid molecular evolution in the songbird lineage of genes that are regulated during song experience. These results indicate an active involvement of the genome in neural processes underlying vocal communication and identify potential genetic substrates for the evolution and regulation of this behaviour. © 2010 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

Publication Source (Journal or Book title)

Nature

First Page

757

Last Page

762

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