Several of the up-regulated genes were known to be responsible for song learning and singing in songbirds, suggesting a common evolutionary background of sound perception across species.
Listening to music enhanced the activity of genes involved in dopamine secretion and transport, synaptic function, learning and memory. One of the most up-regulated genes, synuclein-alpha (SNCA) is a known risk gene for Parkinson’s disease that is located in the strongest linkage region of musical aptitude. SNCA is also known to contribute to song learning in songbirds.
“The effect was only detectable in musically experienced participants, suggesting the importance of familiarity and experience in mediating music-induced effects,”