By Victoria Gill
Science reporter, BBC News
Scientists have created a "blueprint" of the genome of a songbird.
The advance, described in the journal Nature, could reveal some of the evolutionary secrets of vocal learning in animals, including humans.
The researchers say it will aid the study the genetics of speech disorders, such as those related to autism, stuttering and Parkinson's Disease.
The international research team was led by Dr Wesley Warren from the Washington University in St Louis, US.
"The zebra finch is a beautiful model for vocal learning," Dr Warren said.