Scientists have managed to implant information about the structure of the songs directly into the brain of chorister birds. The scientists used optogenetics methods – scientific methods which may regulate nerve cells by light. About the research of biologists writes the scientific journal Science.
Scientists have been trying to figure out how people in the process of evolution learned to speak, and what areas of the brain involved in teaching speech. To establish this, the researchers tried using song birds, reports TASS.
The object of the study, the researchers chose Zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata), whose process of teaching singing is largely similar to the process of learning human speech. These birds listen to the singing of his parents in early childhood and many times repeating fragments of melody, eventually may play similar songs.
Biologists have identified in finches two areas of the brain responsible for memorizing tunes. Scientists decided to “implant” knowledge about the songs directly into the brain of Chicks.
Researchers with a special virus introduced in these two brain areas of special light-sensitive proteins. Scientists have been working on links between these areas with light to teach birds to tunes without prior listening.
Another group of birds was trained in the traditional way, listening to the parents.
Birds from the first group were able to learn the songs only after the “introduction” to their brains of knowledge about them. The duration of the individual fragments of melodies depended on how much time scientists shone on the light-sensitive proteins, and could be different from the usual tunes. In the rest of the songs of the birds from the two groups were almost identical.
Scientists believe that this study can help to learn more about the diseases associated with disorders of the Central nervous system in humans.
Previously, scientists have conducted similar experiments. So, researchers from mit have created an artificial memory and implanted it in a mouse brain.