Chromosome 7: FOXP2 gene involved in language, Matt Ridley
Interviewee: Matt Ridley. This gene, FOXP2, has been linked with the development of language. Mutations in this gene lower a person's ability to articulate and to construct meaningful sentences. Recent studies suggest that this gene became widely established in human populations around 200,000 years ago, helping people to communicate better and survive. (DNAi Location: Genome > Tour > Genome spots > Language< > A chromosome 7 story)
Have you ever wondered how we are capable of learning a language when we're children? Well, it turns out it's not just a matter of learning it �€“ you actually have to have an instinct for language too. And one of the genes involved in this innate instinct is on chromosome 7. It's called FOXP2 and the curious thing about it is that it's in mice as well, yet mice are incapable of learning a language. But, in people where this gene is not working, they develop a slightly deficient form of language.
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