Thursday, May 7, 2009
Culture May Be Encoded in DNA
From Wired Magazine:
Knowledge is passed down directly from generation to generation in the animal kingdom as parents teach their children the things they will need to survive. But a new study has found that, even when the chain is broken, nature sometimes finds a way.
Zebra finches, which normally learn their complex courtship songs from their fathers, spontaneously developed the same songs all on their own after only a few generations.
“We found that in this case, the culture was pretty much encoded in the genome,” said Partha Mitra of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York, co-author of a study in Nature on Sunday.
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