Language and genetics behind it is still a huge unexplored area. Speech and language are multigenic, highly complex traits that aren’t just a result of functions of a single gene. FOXP2 is known to be the “language gene”. If we compare the gene between chimpanzees and humans, there are two differences in the highly conserved regions. However, these 2 differences are shared between modern humans and Neanderthals.
“FOXP2 is a gene whose function is known because there is a family that has an inherited disorder… Disease phenotype is that people have hard time processing speech and language, keeping a steady rhythm etc… It is related to having (only) one copy of the gene.” Ed Green, Genome Biologist
Splice Summer series brings you the interesting discussion that raises the question of one of the main advantages of the modern human species, our ability to talk and convey information. When did it all start? Could Neanderthals talk?
Tea Pavlek, MSc, BioSistemika LLC