Title: Decoding the genetics of speech and language
|Organised by||Simon Fisher|
|Date||4 February 2014|
|Time||16:00 - 17:00|
Researchers are beginning to uncover the neurogenetic pathways that contribute to our unparalleled capacity for spoken language. Initial clues come from identification of genetic risk factors implicated in developmental language disorders. The underlying genetic architecture is complex, involving a range of molecular mechanisms. For example, we have shown that rare protein-coding mutations of the FOXP2 transcription factor cause severe problems with sequencing of speech sounds, while common genetic risk variants of small effect size in genes like CNTNAP2, ATP2C2 and CMIP are associated with typical forms of language impairment.
In my talk I will describe how investigations of genes like FOXP2, in humans, animals and cellular models, can unravel the complicated connections between genes and language. This depends on interdisciplinary research at multiple levels, from determining molecular interactions and functional roles in neural cell-biology all the way through to effects on brain structure and activity.
Prior to this lecture, from 15h-16h, there will be a SMART Cognitive Science debate on Genes & Linguistics (“Is genetic research revolutionizing our understanding of language?“) with Johan Bolhuis (Utrecht), Caroline Junge (U. of Amsterdam) and Simon Fisher (MPI/RU Nijmegen).