Iris Adam, Diploma Student.
Genomic aberrations in the FoxP2 transcription factor cause developmental verbal dyspraxia , a severe speech and language disorder. The pathomechanism is likely to result from a misregulation of FoxP2 downstream target genes. Since speech learning in humans and song acquisition in songbirds are highly similar processes, we use the zebra finch as a model for further investigations. During the song learning period, FoxP2 increases significantly in Area X, a song-specific region within the zebra finch brain . But although FoxP2 is known to play a role in speech and language, little is known about the molecular pathways affected. To further investigate the molecular background of speech and/or song acquisition, I aim to identify genes that are directly regulated by FoxP2 by using in vitro luciferase assays.
Furthermore, I will characterize candidate target genes in vivo by in situ-hybridisation and RNA quantification using Real-time PCR.