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Parental developmental experience affects vocal learning in offspring

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journal contribution
posted on 2024-07-04, 04:45 authored by FLH Kraft, OL Crino, SO Adeniran-Obey, RA Moraney, DF Clayton, JM George, Kate BuchananKate Buchanan
AbstractCultural and genetic inheritance combine to enable rapid changes in trait expression, but their relative importance in determining trait expression across generations is not clear. Birdsong is a socially learned cognitive trait that is subject to both cultural and genetic inheritance, as well as being affected by early developmental conditions. We sought to test whether early-life conditions in one generation can affect song acquisition in the next generation. We exposed one generation (F1) of nestlings to elevated corticosterone (CORT) levels, allowed them to breed freely as adults, and quantified their son’s (F2) ability to copy the song of their social father. We also quantified the neurogenetic response to song playback through immediate early gene (IEG) expression in the auditory forebrain. F2 males with only one corticosterone-treated parent copied their social father’s song less accurately than males with two control parents. Expression of ARC in caudomedial nidopallium (NCM) correlated with father-son song similarity, and patterns of expression levels of several IEGs in caudomedial mesopallium (CMM) in response to father song playback differed between control F2 sons and those with a CORT-treated father only. This is the first study to demonstrate that developmental conditions can affect social learning and neurogenetic responses in a subsequent generation.

History

Journal

Scientific Reports

Volume

14

Article number

13787

Pagination

1-11

Location

Berlin, Germany

Open access

  • Yes

ISSN

2045-2322

eISSN

2045-2322

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Issue

1

Publisher

Springer