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Individual variation in neuron number predicts differences in the propensity for avian vocal imitation

Individual variation in neuron number predicts differences in the propensity for avian vocal imitation

Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences Of The United States Of America. 95(3): 1277-1282,. 3

Avian song learning involves memorizing and reproducing song material produced by conspecifics. In several species song repertoire size correlates with the overall volume of two song-related brain regions, the HVc (acronym used as the proper name) and the robust nucleus of the archistriatum (RA). We raised male zebra finches with two adult tutors and found that individual differences in HVc volume and neuron number correlated positively with differences in the number of tutor syllables accurately copied. These results were replicated in a second study. The relationship between RA volume and song learning was similar, but less robust. Importantly, total repertoire size (number of song syllables) did not correlate significantly with anatomical measures of either the HVc or RA. Because previous work suggests that the volume and neuron number of these regions are not regulated by song learning, it is possible that naturally occurring variation in neuron number constrains how much song material can be copied or reproduced.

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Accession: 008854279

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 9448322

DOI: 10.2307/44270

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