Nature lovers are fascinated by the increasing number of singing birds when spring is approaching. Scientists can study this seasonal phenomenon as they are able to investigate underlying mechanisms by which hormones guide our body and behaviour. A team of researchers from both the Max Planck Institutes for Ornithology and Molecular Genetics and the University of Cambridge have now studied the genome of the canary. With the genome data at hand, researchers were able to decipher the evolution of hormone-sensitive gene regulation in seasonal singing birds.
Markus Ralser's group were able to analyse the canary brain singing centre using mass spectrometry and found the activation of hormone-responsive proteins that induce the singing behaviour. The paper has been published in Genome Biology. See the full Max Planck news story