COCK-A-DOODLE QUAIL

TRANSPLANTED BRAIN CELLS MAKE LABORATORY CHICKS CROW AND BOB LIKE FOWL OF A DIFFERENT FEATHER

The small bundles of fluff and feathers looked like any other freshly hatched chickens. But when these Plymouth Rock hatchlings began chirping, it was clear that they were rare birds indeed. Instead of launching into the usual chicken songs, they crowed and bobbed like baby quail. Some harkened to danger calls from adult quail but didn't so much as cock-a-doodle-doo when called by mama hens.

A barnyard foul-up? Not at all. The chicks' identity crisis was a scientific coup, demonstrating convincingly how instinctive ("hardwired") behavior can be shuttled from one species to another. The feat, moreover, was accomplished not by crossbreeding...

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