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A molecular AND bioacoustics paper in PLOS One.

To: Bioacoustic-L <>
Subject: A molecular AND bioacoustics paper in PLOS One.
From: Jean-Francois Julien <>
Date: Mon, 24 Sep 2007 18:29:17 +0200
Accelerated FoxP2 Evolution in Echolocating Bats.
Li G, Wang J, Rossiter SJ, Jones G, Zhang S (2007)
 PLoS ONE 2(9): e900. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0000900

URL (open access):

FOXP2 is a transcription factor implicated in the development and
neural control of orofacial coordination, particularly with respect to
vocalisation. Observations that orthologues show almost no variation
across vertebrates yet differ by two amino acids between humans and
chimpanzees have led to speculation that recent evolutionary changes
might relate to the emergence of language. Echolocating bats face
especially challenging sensorimotor demands, using vocal signals for
orientation and often for prey capture. To determine whether mutations
in the FoxP2 gene could be associated with echolocation, we sequenced
FoxP2 from echolocating and non-echolocating bats as well as a range
of other mammal species. We found that contrary to previous reports,
FoxP2 is not highly conserved across all nonhuman mammals but is
extremely diverse in echolocating bats. We detected divergent
selection (a change in selective pressure) at FoxP2 between bats with
contrasting sonar systems, suggesting the intriguing possibility of a
role for FoxP2 in the evolution and development of echolocation. We
speculate that observed accelerated evolution of FoxP2 in bats
supports a previously proposed function in sensorimotor coordination.

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