Tiny evolutionary mutation led to 'language gene': study

Vastet
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Tiny evolutionary mutation led to 'language gene': study

Quote:
PARIS — Two minute changes in a gene that is otherwise identical in humans and chimps could explain why we have full-fledged power of speech while other primates can only grunt or screech, scientists said on Wednesday.The findings may also point to new drug targets for hard-to-treat diseases that disrupt speech, such as schizophrenia and autism, they said.A decade ago, researchers discovered that members of an extended family beset with a rare inherited speech disorder all shared the same defect in a gene called FOXP2.

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Well now, that is interesting.

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The opening paragraph is

The opening paragraph is misleading. If you were to switch those two genes in chimps they would *not* suddenly be able to talk.

These kinds of genes are regulatory genes. They affect the developmental process, such that other genes are turned on and off at the appropriate times and durations. Without all those other genes to regulate, the FOXP2 mutations wouldn't do much. However, without the proper regulation from the FOXP2 genes, all those other language-related genes are not activated properly, and language fails to develop properly. That's why people with mutations in FOXP2 have language disorders, but giving chimps the human variants of FOXP2 would not give them language all of a sudden.

It's like the keys for a car. Without the keys, you can't start the engine. But without the engine, it doesn't matter if you have the keys or not.

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I don't post full articles

I don't post full articles due to potential copyright claims. Your point is addressed in the full article.

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Vastet wrote:I don't post

Vastet wrote:
I don't post full articles due to potential copyright claims. Your point is addressed in the full article.

I know. My point was more about the journalist's article than the original science or your post here. I dislike when journalists make exaggerated claims about science in the headlines and opening paragraphs, in order to attract unwarranted attention. It's dishonest and leads to a public distrust of science, when the public realizes, "Hey, all these wild claims never seem to pan out into reality." If science journalists would be more responsible and get people excited and interested in the *actual* findings, which is admittedly harder than just exaggerating lazily, then that would do a lot to improve the public image of science.

It's why I like Scientific American and dislike Popular Science and newspaper 'Science' sections.

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True enough. The media seems

True enough. The media seems to have been focused on sensationalist stories more than anything else for a good 15-20 years now. I'd love to see full accountability return to reporting. At this point I could see a well done article being completely re-written by an editor to make it more "exciting".

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Vastet wrote:I don't post

Vastet wrote:
I don't post full articles due to potential copyright claims.

Quick questions for ya. I just made a post where I quoted a full blog entry (see http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/18848). I guess I was thinking if anyone complained, we could always edit it down to the relevant bits (i.e. fair use). Do you think it was a bad idea to post the whole thing? What realistic consequences could come from my posting the whole thing? What would you have done in this case?

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I just recall a year or two

I just recall a year or two ago that the AP started suing people and companies, Google included, for having the full text of their articles on sites not owned and operated by the AP. At that time I had been posting full articles, a policy I changed to avoid similar occurring to those sites I frequent. If you can prove to me, or the administration clears it, that such is not a problem, then I'll go back to posting full articles again (or at least I will when I can do so without posting 6 posts in a row due to the character limit on my PS3). Until such time as that happens, I prefer to excersize caution.

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