Many birds learn song during a restricted 'sensitive' period1. Juveniles memorize a song model, and then learn the pattern of muscle contractions necessary to reproduce the song. Of the neural changes accompanying avian song learning, perhaps the most remarkable is the production of new neurons which are inserted into the hyperstriatum ventralis pars caudalis (HVc)2, a region critical for song production3. We report here that in young male zebra finches many of the new neurons incorporated into the HVc innervate the robust nucleus of the archistriatum (RA) which projects to motor neurons controlling the vocal musculature3. Furthermore, far fewer of these new neurons are incorporated into the HVc of either adult males that are beyond the sensitive learning period, or young females (who do not develop song). Thus, a major portion of the vocal motor pathway is actually created during song learning. This may enable early sensory experience and vocal practice to not only modify existing neuronal circuits, but also shape the insertion and initial synaptic contacts of neurons controlling adult song.
Subscribe to Journal
Get full journal access for 1 year
only $3.90 per issue
All prices are NET prices.
VAT will be added later in the checkout.
Rent or Buy article
Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.
All prices are NET prices.
Marler, P. in Imprinting and Cortical Plasticity. Comparative Aspects of Sensitive Periods (eds Rauschecker, J. P. & Marler, P.) 99–135 (Wiley, New York, 1987).
Nordeen, E. J. & Nordeen, K. W. J. Neurosci. (in the press).
Nottebohm, F. & Leonard, C. M. J. comp. Neurol. 165, 457–486 (1976).
Immelmann, K. in Bird Vocalizations (ed. Hinde, R. A.) 61–77 (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1969).
Eales, L. A. Anim. Behav. 33, 1293–1300 (1985).
Bottjer, S. W., Miesner, E. A. & Arnold, A. P. Neurosci. Lett. 67, 263–268 (1986).
Nordeen, E. J., Nordeen, K. W. & Arnold, A. P. J. comp. Neurol. 259, 393–399 (1987).
Nottebohm, F. & Arnold, A. Science 194, 211–213 (1976).
Katz, L. C. & Gurney, M. E. Brain Res. 211, 192–197 (1981).
Konishi, M. & Akutagawa, E. Nature 315, 145–147 (1985).
Kirn, J. R. & DeVoogd, T. J. Soc. Neurosci. Abstr. 11, 532 (1985).
Kirn, J. R. & DeVoogd, T. J. Soc. Neurosci. Abstr. 13, 687 (1987).
Goldman, S. & Nottebohm, F. Proc. natn. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 80, 2390–2394 (1983).
Nottebohm, F. Condor 86, 227–236 (1984).
Paton, J. A., O'Loughlin, B. E. & Nottebohm, F. J. Neurosci. 5, 3088–3093 (1985).
Nottebohm, F. in Hope for a New Neurology (ed. Nottebohm, F.) 143–161 (New York Acad. Sci., New York, 1985).
Konishi, M. Z. Tierpsychol. 22, 770–783 (1965).
Rauschecker, J. P. & Marler, P. Imprinting and Cortical Plasticity. Comparative Aspcts of Sensitive Periods (Wiley, New York, 1987).
Purves, D. & Lichtman, J. W. Science 210, 153–157 (1980).
Oppenheim, R. W. & Haverkamp, L. in Handbook of Behavioral Neurobiology Vol. 8 (ed. Blass, E. M.) 1–33 (Plenum, New York, 1985).
Kuffler, S. W., Nicholls, J. G. & Martin, A. R. From Neuron to Brain (Sinauer, Sunderland, MA, 1984).
About this article
Cite this article
Nordeen, K., Nordeen, E. Projection neurons within a vocal motor pathway are born during song learning in zebra finches. Nature 334, 149–151 (1988). https://doi.org/10.1038/334149a0
Advanced Genetics (2021)
Brain Structure and Function (2020)
Current Opinion in Neurobiology (2020)