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Using digital images of the zebra finch song system as a tool to teach organizational effects of steroid hormones: a free downloadable module.

Grisham W, Schottler NA, McCauley LM, Pham AP, Ruiz ML, Fong MC, Cui X - CBE Life Sci Educ (2011)

Bottom Line: Zebra finch song behavior is sexually dimorphic: males sing and females do not.We have overcome these barriers by creating digital tools, including an image library of song nuclei from zebra finch brains.We have used this library for several terms, and students not only obtain significant experimental results but also make gains in understanding content, experimental controls, and inferential statistics (analysis of variance and post hoc tests).

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA. grisham@lifesci.ucla.edu

ABSTRACT
Zebra finch song behavior is sexually dimorphic: males sing and females do not. The neural system underlying this behavior is sexually dimorphic, and this sex difference is easy to quantify. During development, the zebra finch song system can be altered by steroid hormones, specifically estradiol, which actually masculinizes it. Because of the ease of quantification and experimental manipulation, the zebra finch song system has great potential for use in undergraduate labs. Unfortunately, the underlying costs prohibit use of this system in undergraduate labs. Further, the time required to perform a developmental study renders such undertakings unrealistic within a single academic term. We have overcome these barriers by creating digital tools, including an image library of song nuclei from zebra finch brains. Students using this library replicate and extend a published experiment examining the dose of estradiol required to masculinize the female zebra finch brain. We have used this library for several terms, and students not only obtain significant experimental results but also make gains in understanding content, experimental controls, and inferential statistics (analysis of variance and post hoc tests). We have provided free access to these digital tools at the following website: http://mdcune.psych.ucla.edu/modules/birdsong.

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Semi-schematic of a sagittal view of a songbird brain highlighting the relationships among the song nuclei. RA, lMAN, Area X, and HVC are all telencephalic nuclei. RA, lMAN, and HVC can be considered as roughly homologous to aspects of the mammalian cortex. Area X is a part of the basal ganglia and is also part of the forebrain. DLM and nXII are in the brainstem.
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Figure 1: Semi-schematic of a sagittal view of a songbird brain highlighting the relationships among the song nuclei. RA, lMAN, Area X, and HVC are all telencephalic nuclei. RA, lMAN, and HVC can be considered as roughly homologous to aspects of the mammalian cortex. Area X is a part of the basal ganglia and is also part of the forebrain. DLM and nXII are in the brainstem.

Mentions: The song system consists of a set of interconnected nuclei whose only known function is the learning and production of song (Figure 1). This system can be divided into song acquisition and song production pathways. The song acquisition pathway consists of nuclei in the anterior forebrain pathway: lateral magnocellular nucleus of anterior nidopallium (lMAN), nucleus dorsolateralis anterior thalami, pars medialis (DLM), and Area X, which is its proper name (nomenclature from Reiner et al., 2004; Nixdorf-Bergweiler and Bischof, 2007). Lesions in this pathway disrupt the acquisition (Bottjer et al., 1984; Scharff and Nottebohm, 1991; Johnson and Bottjer, 1992; Nottebohm, 2005) and maintenance of song (Williams and Mehta 1999; Roy and Mooney, 2007). The production pathway consists of HVC (here used as a proper name), the robust nucleus of arcopallium (RA), and hypoglossal nucleus (nXII) (nomenclature from Reiner et al., 2004). Lesions of this pathway result in a loss of song (Nottebohm et al., 1976). Electrophysiological evidence suggests that song syllable timing is organized in HVC and the syllables’ actual acoustic properties are organized in RA (McCasland, 1987; Vu et al., 1994; Suthers and Margoliash, 2002).


Using digital images of the zebra finch song system as a tool to teach organizational effects of steroid hormones: a free downloadable module.

Grisham W, Schottler NA, McCauley LM, Pham AP, Ruiz ML, Fong MC, Cui X - CBE Life Sci Educ (2011)

Semi-schematic of a sagittal view of a songbird brain highlighting the relationships among the song nuclei. RA, lMAN, Area X, and HVC are all telencephalic nuclei. RA, lMAN, and HVC can be considered as roughly homologous to aspects of the mammalian cortex. Area X is a part of the basal ganglia and is also part of the forebrain. DLM and nXII are in the brainstem.
© Copyright Policy - creative-commons
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3105929&req=5

Figure 1: Semi-schematic of a sagittal view of a songbird brain highlighting the relationships among the song nuclei. RA, lMAN, Area X, and HVC are all telencephalic nuclei. RA, lMAN, and HVC can be considered as roughly homologous to aspects of the mammalian cortex. Area X is a part of the basal ganglia and is also part of the forebrain. DLM and nXII are in the brainstem.
Mentions: The song system consists of a set of interconnected nuclei whose only known function is the learning and production of song (Figure 1). This system can be divided into song acquisition and song production pathways. The song acquisition pathway consists of nuclei in the anterior forebrain pathway: lateral magnocellular nucleus of anterior nidopallium (lMAN), nucleus dorsolateralis anterior thalami, pars medialis (DLM), and Area X, which is its proper name (nomenclature from Reiner et al., 2004; Nixdorf-Bergweiler and Bischof, 2007). Lesions in this pathway disrupt the acquisition (Bottjer et al., 1984; Scharff and Nottebohm, 1991; Johnson and Bottjer, 1992; Nottebohm, 2005) and maintenance of song (Williams and Mehta 1999; Roy and Mooney, 2007). The production pathway consists of HVC (here used as a proper name), the robust nucleus of arcopallium (RA), and hypoglossal nucleus (nXII) (nomenclature from Reiner et al., 2004). Lesions of this pathway result in a loss of song (Nottebohm et al., 1976). Electrophysiological evidence suggests that song syllable timing is organized in HVC and the syllables’ actual acoustic properties are organized in RA (McCasland, 1987; Vu et al., 1994; Suthers and Margoliash, 2002).

Bottom Line: Zebra finch song behavior is sexually dimorphic: males sing and females do not.We have overcome these barriers by creating digital tools, including an image library of song nuclei from zebra finch brains.We have used this library for several terms, and students not only obtain significant experimental results but also make gains in understanding content, experimental controls, and inferential statistics (analysis of variance and post hoc tests).

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA. grisham@lifesci.ucla.edu

ABSTRACT
Zebra finch song behavior is sexually dimorphic: males sing and females do not. The neural system underlying this behavior is sexually dimorphic, and this sex difference is easy to quantify. During development, the zebra finch song system can be altered by steroid hormones, specifically estradiol, which actually masculinizes it. Because of the ease of quantification and experimental manipulation, the zebra finch song system has great potential for use in undergraduate labs. Unfortunately, the underlying costs prohibit use of this system in undergraduate labs. Further, the time required to perform a developmental study renders such undertakings unrealistic within a single academic term. We have overcome these barriers by creating digital tools, including an image library of song nuclei from zebra finch brains. Students using this library replicate and extend a published experiment examining the dose of estradiol required to masculinize the female zebra finch brain. We have used this library for several terms, and students not only obtain significant experimental results but also make gains in understanding content, experimental controls, and inferential statistics (analysis of variance and post hoc tests). We have provided free access to these digital tools at the following website: http://mdcune.psych.ucla.edu/modules/birdsong.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus