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First songbird genome arrives with spring

Zebra finch is second avian species to have its DNA cataloged

1:55pm, March 31, 2010

Zebra finches have something to tweet about. The little songbirds’ genetic instruction book has just been deciphered.

An international team of scientists announced the accomplishment in the April 1 Nature. Zebra finches are the first songbirds and the second bird, after the chicken, with a completely decoded genetic blueprint. Contained within the finch’s DNA could be clues to how songbirds learn vocal information and use songs in social situations, a model for human language and communication.

Whales, dolphins, some bats and several other species of birds also learn vocally, but the mouse-sized zebra finch has become a mode

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