What the zebra finch has to do with Parkinson disease:
The protein, alpha-synuclein, is the target for promising new Parkinson’s therapeutics. However, in 1997, when we found the first Parkinson disease-causing mutation in the alpha-synuclein gene, we knew only that the same gene in the zebra finch played a role in song learning. Native to Australia and Indonesia, the zebra finch is part of a large family of songbirds, and because it breeds and does well in captivity, several research laboratories use it to investigate the neural pathways of memory and learning.
Sign up below to receive a free copy of “Songbird” and read the story of how my life-long fear of flying birds has taken on a whole new meaning.