Human Development And Development Of Human Language

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Humans like to speak our minds. And the language in which we speak is unique, when compared to the communication between animals. Human language is a complex communication system consisting of the creation, acquisition, and development of sound patterns using complex motor control. Though how is it that we can do this? What makes humans so different from other animals, even those genetically close to us such as Neanderthals, that we are able to speak and comprehend complex syntax. Turns out, the answer could be more biological than we think: Involving our genes.
The first gene discovered to be directly involved in the acquisition and development of speech and language was the Forkhead Box Protein (FOXP2). This gene, located on chromosome 7, appeared during the development of the brain, heart, lungs, and guts in both fetal and adult humans. The FOXP2 protein is what's known as a transcription factor, meaning that it works to regulate the expression of other genes throughout the body, similar to how an “on-off switch” regulates a light. Orthologs of the FOXP2 gene have been found in other mammals, but the human FOXP2 is unique. While it is believed that hundreds of genes have their activities regulated by this protein, only a select few have been identified. Of the genes mapped, many have been connected to the human capacity for language and speech.
Mutations of the FOXP2 in humans cause critical language and speech disorders, disorders such as Developmental Verbal Dyspraxia. Developmental Verbal Dyspraxia is a condition in which children struggle to coordinate the complex motor movements need to produce clear speech with their mouths. These children do not have any nerve or tissue damage, nor any cognitive disabilities. It was the study of this disorder, through an English family known as the KE Family, that the FOXP2 gene was first discovered. The case of the KE Family was studied through the Institute of Child Health at the University London College, though research was carried out throughout the years at different universities. For instance, it was Myma Gopnik, a linguistics professor with McGill University, who hypothesized that causation of Developmental Verbal Dyspraxia was not through any cognitive or
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