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Trends Cogn Sci. 2003 Jun;7(6):257-262.

FOXP2 in focus: what can genes tell us about speech and language?

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Department of Psychology, New York University, 6 Washington Place, 10003, New York, NY, USA


The human capacity for acquiring speech and language must derive, at least in part, from the genome. In 2001, a study described the first case of a gene, FOXP2, which is thought to be implicated in our ability to acquire spoken language. In the present article, we discuss how this gene was discovered, what it might do, how it relates to other genes, and what it could tell us about the nature of speech and language development. We explain how FOXP2 could, without being specific to the brain or to our own species, still provide an invaluable entry-point into understanding the genetic cascades and neural pathways that contribute to our capacity for speech and language.


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