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date: 21 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the genetic foundations of the human capacity for language. It reviews the molecular structure of the genome and the complex molecular mechanisms that allow genetic information to influence multiple levels of biology. It goes on to describe the active regulation of genes and their formation of complex genetic pathways that in turn control the cellular environment and function. At each of these levels, examples of genes and genetic variants that may influence the human capacity for language are given. Finally, it discusses the value of using animal models to understand the genetic underpinnings of speech and language. From this chapter will emerge the complexity of the genome in action and the multidisciplinary efforts that are currently made to bridge the gap between genetics and language.

Keywords: genetics of language, animal models, FOXP2, CNTNAP2, language disorder, gene regulation, molecular networks, speech, vocal learning, neurogenetics

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