Nature vs. Nurture: Singing Mice

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Nature or nurture? That is the question. The debate whether the behavior in humans and animals is attributed to inherited genes (nature) or the environment in which one is raised (nurture) has been deliberated for many years. It has been made evident by geneticists that both nature and nurture have an effect on the behavior in humans and animals.

I read an article recently about 'singing mice.' (link below). Researchers discovered that in a variation of social contexts mice emit ultrasonic calls resembling a song. They carry out tunes that change throughout the duration of their life. Studies were conducted to determine if the songs are learned or if they are born with the songs genetically programmed.

One study conducted in Ohio concluded that all mice changed their song as they matured. The complexity of the songs emitted by the mice expanded as the mice grew older. Hoping that this could show the capability of verbal-learning, researchers had to keep in mind that a change in neuromuscular development could be a factor as well.

The second study was done in Arizona at Azabu University. Cross-fostering experimentation was applied to mice. It examined if environmental factors had a stronger effect on the change in song. Two male mice from two different strains were raised in the opposite strain. In conclusion, this experiment showed that neither the parents nor kids from both strains changed their unique song to adapt to the unique individual entering their environment.

Overall, this article shows strong connections to genetics in mice. However, further studying verbal-learning will be examined in the future to see if environmental roles play into the 'singing mice'. I wonder if the change in song over a mouse's lifetime is innate or learned. Now the question is, "How are nature and nurture related?" I wonder if by continuing studies with twins and adoption and animal studies we can continue to expand our knowledge about the Nature vs. Nurture debate, and decipher which behavior traits are linked specifically to genetics or to environmental factors.

( "Singing Mice Article"

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This page contains a single entry by forbe087 published on October 2, 2011 11:02 AM.

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