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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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Side-by-side comparisons of male and female Area X (females don't have an Area X), HVC, and RA. These images are from our library. Each individual would have multiple images from all sections across the rostral–caudal extent of a given song nucleus, so that students can determine the volume.
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Figure 2: Side-by-side comparisons of male and female Area X (females don't have an Area X), HVC, and RA. These images are from our library. Each individual would have multiple images from all sections across the rostral–caudal extent of a given song nucleus, so that students can determine the volume.

Mentions: In most (but not all, cf. Brenowitz and Arnold, 1986) songbird species, the song behavior is sexually dimorphic with males singing more than females. Accordingly, in most species, the telencephalic song nuclei (Area X, HVC, and RA) are dramatically larger in males than in females (Nottebohm and Arnold, 1976; Gurney and Konishi, 1980; Grisham and Arnold, 1995; see Figure 2). This sex difference can be altered in development via the organizational effect of steroid hormones, which determine aspects of the sexual phenotype irrespective of the genetic code carried on the sex chromosomes (cf. Breedlove and Hampson, 2002; Phoenix et al., 1959). Exogenous steroid hormones, particularly estradiol, can masculinize the brain phenotype in developing female zebra finches (Gurney and Konishi, 1980; Grisham and Arnold, 1995, Grisham et al., 2008) and is also known to masculinize mammalian brains in development (cf. Breedlove and Hampson, 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)

Side-by-side comparisons of male and female Area X (females don't have an Area X), HVC, and RA. These images are from our library. Each individual would have multiple images from all sections across the rostral–caudal extent of a given song nucleus, so that students can determine the volume.
© Copyright Policy - creative-commons
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

Figure 2: Side-by-side comparisons of male and female Area X (females don't have an Area X), HVC, and RA. These images are from our library. Each individual would have multiple images from all sections across the rostral–caudal extent of a given song nucleus, so that students can determine the volume.
Mentions: In most (but not all, cf. Brenowitz and Arnold, 1986) songbird species, the song behavior is sexually dimorphic with males singing more than females. Accordingly, in most species, the telencephalic song nuclei (Area X, HVC, and RA) are dramatically larger in males than in females (Nottebohm and Arnold, 1976; Gurney and Konishi, 1980; Grisham and Arnold, 1995; see Figure 2). This sex difference can be altered in development via the organizational effect of steroid hormones, which determine aspects of the sexual phenotype irrespective of the genetic code carried on the sex chromosomes (cf. Breedlove and Hampson, 2002; Phoenix et al., 1959). Exogenous steroid hormones, particularly estradiol, can masculinize the brain phenotype in developing female zebra finches (Gurney and Konishi, 1980; Grisham and Arnold, 1995, Grisham et al., 2008) and is also known to masculinize mammalian brains in development (cf. Breedlove and Hampson, 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