Friday, April 02, 2010

A News Sonnet A Day for April 2010: 2

I've set myself a goal for National Poetry Month this year: Compose a sonnet based on a science-themed news story each day.

Today's installment takes its cue from "First songbird genome arrives with spring" by Tina Hesman Saey.

Molecules of Song

A zebra finch must learn his father's song.
His voicing must be sweet, his hearing keen.
His music lessons, one to two months long,
Affect 800-plus of all his genes.

Black 17 is average for his kind,
And yet among his peers he is unique.
With his genetic code at last defined,
We may know more about how humans speak.

The secret lies in microRNA
Responding to the zebra finch's thought,
For listening puts proteins into play
That help the bird remember what he's taught.

Discoveries anew are taking wing,
A feather for geneticists in Spring.

Elissa Malcohn's Deviations and Other Journeys
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