Archive for July, 2012
Human pheromones, nutrition, DNA, epigenetics
My comment: Now that others are talking about the epigenetic effects of nutrient chemicals, it should not be long before more people realize that the epigenetic effects of pheromones are equally important to adaptive evolution via ecological, social, neurogenic, and socio-cognitive niche construction, as I detailed in Kohl (2012).
The clearest common link across the molecular biology of species from microbes to man is the conservation of gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH), and diversification of its receptor. In our species, as in other mammals, the measure of luteinizing hormone (LH) reflects sex differences in brain development and their link to GnRH-directed neuroendocrine and neuroimmune system development as is important to consider in autism spectrum disorders, and every other aspect of genetically predisposed brain development. See also our pioneering work: From fertilization to adult sexual behavior. Diamond M, Binstock T, Kohl JV. Horm Behav. 1996 Dec;30(4):333-53.
Proceeding from the quote above “You are what you eat.” –> The metabolism of nutrient chemicals (what you eat) determines the pheromone production that tells others who and what you are, as exemplified in the honeybee model organism (and in yeasts). What the queen bee eats determines her pheromone production and everything else about the interaction in the colony, including the neuroanatomy of the worker bees’ brains.
Video (10.21 minutes) Dana Dolonoy
Did those who say that diet may influence the DNA of future generations not get my memo? Of course there are transgenerational epigenetic effects of diet (and pheromones). They are responsible for adaptive evolution via ecological, social, neurogenic, and socio-cognitive niche construction – as occurs with speciation from microbes to man.
The transgenerational epigenetic effects of diet and pheromones cause speciation. A new nutrient source in an existing ecological niche causes diet-driven changes in intracellular signaling and stochastic gene expression. The changes in gene expression are linked to the metabolism of the new nutrient and to changes in pheromones and in chemical (e.g., olfactory or odor receptors).
Substantial changes in diet result in substantial changes in species-specific pheromones that signal reproductive fitness. Natural selection for a well-nourished conspecific that is reproductively fit is ensured via the epigenetic effects of nutrient chemicals and pheromones. Had Darwin’s followers known anything about genetics they might have figured out the the changing beaks of finches were caused by the epigenetic changes of nutrient chemicals and that even subtle changes in the beaks were accompanied by changes in pheromones that controlled reproduction — so that different species with different beaks could evolve to maximize their reproductive potential in a new ecological niche. As it turns out, now we know that nutrient chemicals and pheromones are responsible for evolution. What we don’t know is why so many people think that random mutations cause adaptive evolution. Is there a model for that? If so, is there a pattern comparable to the one recognized as the design in biology of 1) ecological, 2) social, 3) neurogenic, and 4) socio-cognitive niche construction? How could random mutations be responsible for such an obvious complex sequence of receptor-mediated events?read more July 30, 2012 • 4:08 PM
Human pheromones and IQ via neurogenic and socio-cognitive niche construction
As indicated in the literature linked here, IQ becomes increasingly heritable with maturity, and evolution of the brain in highly encephalized human species is linked to larger olfactory bulbs and a relatively wider orbitofrontal cortex, and the accelerated recruitment of new brain development genes into the human genome, as well as integrated with other aspects of human skull shape.
Given the model I have detailed that links the epigenetic effects of nutrient chemicals and pheromones (via olfactory/pheromonal input) directly to brain development and behavior, how could the link to IQ not be crystal clear.
Anyone who is familiar with the basic principles of biology and levels of biological organization, which are required to link what we eat and the presence of conspecifics (e.g., our social life) directly to adaptive evolution via ecological, social, neurogenic, and socio-cognitive niche construction, would recognize the link to IQ as a function of adaptively evolved socio-cognitive niche construction. Yet, some of my antagonists claim that I am merely asserting what my model details. Another antagonist points and sputters that my claim about the central role of the hypothalamic gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) pulse generator is patently absurd. Did I ever mention the diet-responsive hypothalamic neurogenic niche?
Does anyone remember the last time they saw someone comment on any claim for the involvement of a neurogenic niche? Here’s a reminder: Are we supposed to be impressed by some fancy sounding name like “neurogenic”? What is “socio-cognitive niche construction”? Does anyone remember anyone else who has ever offered a model of adaptive evolution for comparison to my details of ecological, social, neurogenic, and socio-cognitive niche construction?
If evolutionary psychologists are left to discuss random mutations and other theories, rather than to discuss models based on biological facts, it will be due to the lack of intelligent life in their discussion groups, despite the few participants who have commented positively on my contributions. There are too few participants that seem capable of pattern recognition or capable of integrating pattern recognition into a model of adaptive evolution. For example:
1) ecological (food),
2) social (pheromones),
3) neurogenic (hypothalamic GnRH),
4) socio-cognitive niche construction of our nutrient chemical and pheromone-dependent central nervous system is a recognized pattern.
It’s exemplified in the honeybee model organism — although the bees — like most evolutionary theorists — are unaware of cause and effect. But the bees have an excuse; they lack consciousness!.
For comparison, there are too many semi-conscious or largely unaware antagonists who are also evolutionary theorists with no model of adaptive evolution other than one that involves random mutations theory. That means they have no model; they have only that theory, which has never been supported by evidence from biology.
That theory (e.g., of random mutations) is worthless given the enlightenment provided by neuroscientific studies during the last two decades or more. Natural selection “selects” for nutrient chemicals. Sexual selection “selects” for pheromones. There is nothing random about that. My time is wasted on those who assert their theories with no scientific support from what is currently known about biological evolution in species from microbes to man. What’s currently known is that “Olfaction and odor receptors provide a clear evolutionary trail that can be followed from unicellular organisms to insects to humans.”read more July 31, 2012 • 6:30 PM
Human pheromones are like sugar (and spice)
Monday’s medical myth: Blame it on my sweet tooth July 23, 2012 By Merlin Thomas in Overweight and Obesity
Sweet foods may also be preferred for their hedonistic as well as their comforting properties, partly through its effects on brain chemicals including endogenous opiates. Sugar was probably the first drug. And the more enjoyable, rewarding or relaxing the experience, the more likely you’ll reach for it again
My comment: GnRH neurons in the hypothalamic neurogenic niche, which links the epigenetic effects of pheromones directly to intracellular signaling, stochastic gene expression, and behavior, also appear to directly sense glucose. What this means in the context of sweetness is that you can get from the advent of sexual reproduction in yeasts to the nutrient-directed GnRH regulation of the human neuroendocrine and neuroimmune systems with a single molecule that is conserved across 400 milliion years of nutrient-dependent vertebrate evolution.
I think that model of adaptive evolution via ecological, social, neurogenic, and socio-cognitive niche construction has more explanatory power than any current evolutionary theory of human behavioral development. Do you think if I told others that pheromones are like sugar (instead of spices) they would develop a taste for learning about what’s required to link sensory input – like food odors and pheromones- directly to hormones like GnRH and receptor-mediated animal behavior?read more July 27, 2012 • 7:49 PM
Transgenerational epigenetic inheritance via nutrient chemicals
“Depending on the relationship, one’s mother can either produce stress or relieve it,” said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. “This report shows that her effect on stress begins even before birth. The importance of choline cannot be overstated as we continue to unravel the role it plays in human health and development.”
This is the most potent indicator of how soon the epigenetic effects of nutrient chemicals and pheromones in the honeybee model organism will be extended to the role they play in human health and development. Each week it becomes more difficult to limit findings to one species that are linked to the common molecular biology shared by all species. For example, the epigentic effects of diet clearly are present in the honeybee, and they are responsible — along with the queen’s pheromones — for every interaction among the individuals in the colony. Moreover, nutrient chemicals and pheromones are responsible for the difference in the neuroanatomy of the worker bees’ brains. We now have a report on how maternal stress alters the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, and how nutrient chemicals might reverse the effects of damaging hormone levels. That’s one step away from having a report on how human pheromones alter both the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) and the HPA axis to cause changes in intracellular signaling and stochastic gene expression that enable the plasticity of our behavioral responses to sensory stimuli from our environment across a lifetime of experience. For those who haven’t quite figured out how human pheromones do that, it’s precisely the way that nutrient chemicals associated with food odors do it. And that’s how olfaction and odor receptors provide a clear evolutionary trail that can be followed from unicellular organisms to insects to humans.read more July 31, 2012 • 7:19 PM
Human Pheromones: Diversity of signaling pathways and a common response
Article excerpt: “The diversity of signaling pathways perhaps make it more robust in triggering innate behaviors.” –C. Ron Yu, Ph.D., senior author of the study.
Whether the required receptor-mediated signal transduction occurs via a VNO and AOS or through the main olfactory system (MOS), it is the molecular biology common to all species that assures us olfaction and odor receptors provide a clear evolutionary trail, which can be followed from unicellular organisms to insects to humans.
The GnRH-directed luteinizing hormone (LH) response, which links the epigenetic effects of human pheromones and food odors directly to the socioaffective nature of evolved behaviors exemplifies adaptive evolution of a common response to food odors and mammalian pheromones, including human pheromones, as detailed in: Kohl, J.V. (2012) Human pheromones and food odors: epigenetic influences on the socioaffective nature of evolved behaviors. Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology, 2: 17338.read more July 29, 2012 • 7:10 PM
Human Pheromones: Diversity of signaling pathways and a common response (Part 2)
Article excerpts (with my emphasis): Re: The sense of smell
“From its [neurogenic] niche within the nose in most land-based vertebrates, it detects pheromones and triggers corresponding basic-instinct behaviors”
“…neurons… are studded with specialized receptors that can be activated by contact with specific messenger-chemicals…. When activated,… receptors cause adjacent ion channels to open or close allowing ions to flood into or out of a neuron. These inflows and outflows of electric charge create voltage surges that can activate a… neuron, so that it signals to the brain to turn on a specific behavior.”
Key words (from above): my sequence: activate, receptor, neuron, [niche], cause, behavior
As almost everyone knows, there is no such thing as a training receptor, which is why operant conditioning cannot directly effect (i.e., activate) genetically predisposed behavior. At best, operant conditioning (i.e., training) can only be tentatively linked to behavioral affects via study design (instead of via receptor-mediated events linked to neuronal systems that control brain-directed behavior).
Slight alterations of study design can be used to give the impression that some social scientists are making a significant contribution to the understanding of cause and effect that involves hormones that affect behavior. But there are no training receptors that allow training to epigenetically effect hormone-secreting nerve cells of brain tissue as is required to link sensory input from the environment directly to brain-directed behavior (e.g., in my model of adaptive evolution). There’s also no other model of adaptive evolution that incorporates what’s currently known about the molecular biology that is common to all species.
It would be helpful to many people if my antagonists (e.g, Glen Sizemore, Clarence ‘Sonny’ Williams, John Angel) and/or peers (e.g., Mark Flinn, Jay Feierman, Sigvard Lingh) would simply either acknowledge the factual representation above, or attempt to refute it. The biology of behavior is about receptor-mediated cause and effect that leads to behavioral affects. The affects are obviously of interest to evolutionary psychologists, which suggests that biologically based cause and effect also should be of interest in the context of biologically based adaptive evolution via ecological, social, neurogenic, and socio-cognitive niche construction.read more July 30, 2012 • 3:44 PM
Niche construction: ecological, social, neurogenic, and socio-cognitive
Opinion: Scientists’ Intuitive Failures
By Matthew C. Nisbet and Dietram A. Scheufele | July 23, 2012
Excerpt: “The lesson is that many of the same background factors that shape the perceptions of the general public also influence the political judgments of scientists, explaining in part why several of the myths reviewed in this article linger on.”
My comment: Genetically predisposed behavior (i.e., all behavior) must first be examined by linking sensory input from the environment directly to the evolved gene, cell, tissues, organ, organ system pathway that links adaptive evolution to ecological, social, neurogenic, and socio-cognitive niche construction. The epigenetic effects of nutrient chemicals and pheromones are clear in all animal models, and no correlates are required to link the epigenetic effects directly to hormones that affect human behavioral development.
Biologists who study behavior who are not biochemists, neuroendocrinologists, or molecular biologists must still keep the basic principles of biology and levels of biological organization in mind (as indicated in the FDA Critical Path Initiative) lest they become more like social scientists who think that correlates can be meaningfully interpreted as evidence of anything (e.g., including the evolution of morality or fitness benefits of religious belief).
The early ethologists, for example, thought birds had poor olfactory abilities, “… so the use of olfactory cues was ruled out a priori. The resulting correlates with behavior associated only with audiovisual input in birds brought us to our current failure to understand much of anything in the context of nutrient dependent and pheromone-dependent neurogenic niche and socio-cognitive niche construction, which means everything to anyone studying the behavior of any species.
No neurogenic niche does not mean no behavior, and no socio-cognitive niche only means that the unconscious affects of sensory stimuli on hormones and behavior will predominate. In context, however, 1) ecological, 2) social, 3) neurogenic, and 4) socio-cognitive niche construction explain the adaptive evolution of behavioral development in species from microbes to man.
None of the above is easy to explain to science journalists or to a lay audience, but what’s worse is when there is a need to explain niche construction to biologists. Recently, for example, I was asked by an antagonist to define the term ‘neurogenic niche’. The antagonist, Clarence ‘Sonny’ Wiliams, claims expertise in biology and evolutionary theory, including random mutations, domain-specific modules, and unknown natural mechanisms. All his claims are made with the absence of any understanding of biologically based cause and effect. But his question about the neurogenic niche makes me wonder how many others, especially other social scientists, do not understand the importance to behavior of the diet-responsive hypothalamic neuronal niche. And those who do not understand the adaptive evolution of that neuronal niche are probably the same people who think correlates of audiovisual input in humans can be meaningfully interpreted in the context of biologically based cause and effect — as if we were birds with poor olfactory abilities.
In truth, we are like birds that have superior olfactory abilities, whether or not we think we do. We assess food odors and pheromones that determine our food preferences and prefernces for other people. The assessments begin at birth. Isn’t it long past time to stop thinking about the human sense of smell as if we were bird-brained ethologists, and include the epigenetic effects of nutient chemicals and human pheromones in our scientific approaches to the study of animal behavior?
Nutrient mixture and memory in patients with early Alzheimer’s
Predictably, the treatment with nutrient chemicals works as would treatment with pheromones, which are expected to alter the same hypothalamic neurogenic niche responsible for GnRH-directed changes in luteinizing hormone and hippocampal neurogenesis in mammals. See, for example: Pheromones and the luteinizing hormone for inducing proliferation of neural stem cells and neurogenesis. http://www.freshp…8009.phpread more July 12, 2012 • 5:04 PM
Is oxygen required for sensing nutrient chemicals and pheromones?
Living World / Unusual Organisms
Discover Interview Tullis Onstott Went 2 Miles Down & Found Microbes That Live on Radiation
by Valerie Ross
From the July-August special issue of Discover; published online June 26, 2012
Quote: “This thing had everything. It could take nitrogen directly from its environment, something we did not expect subsurface organisms to do because it takes so much energy. But the real surprise was that it had genes for flagella, tails bacteria use to propel themselves, which basically means it could be swimming around in the environment. It had genes for gas vesicles, which means it can adjust its buoyancy in the environment. And it had genes for chemoreception, which tells us it’s sensing something. The genome is saying it’s a very adaptable organism, and it has the capability of moving around. The idea that organisms down there might be moving around and interacting with the environment—that was really surprising. The only tip-off from the genome that this is a subsurface organism is that it has no protection against oxygen. As soon as it hits air, it’s dead.”
My comment: The genes for chemoreception link this organism to olfaction and odor receptors that provide a clear evolutionary trail that can be followed from unicellular organisms to insects to humans. The obvious fact that this anaerobic organism can respond to them, links nutrient chemicals and pheromones to the epigenetic effects of the sensory environment on an organism that is not found at levels higher that two kilometers below the surface of the earth. It needs no oxygen, but it still must acquire nutrient chemicals, and the metabolism of nutrient chemicals to pheromones must control its reproduction as in every other species on (or underneath the surface of) this planet.read more July 24, 2012 • 7:27 PM
Human pheromones, social deprivation, and brain growth
“MRI study shows social deprivation has a measurable effect on brain growth.” July 23rd, 2012.
Excerpt: “Increasingly we are finding evidence that exposure to childhood adversity has a negative effect on brain development,” says Sheridan. “The implications are wide ranging, not just for institutionalized children but also for children exposed to abuse, abandonment, violence during war, extreme poverty and other adversities.”
More information: “Variation in neural development as a result of exposure to institutionalization early in childhood,” by Margaret A. Sheridan et al., PNAS, 2012. [*This Direct Submission article had a prearranged editor: Bruce McEwen]
It appears to be the epigenetic effect of mammalian pheromones, including human pheromones, on luteinizing hormone and white matter/gray matter ratios that is responsible for the differences in brain growth. These findings exemplify how the molecular biology that is common to all species links nutrient chemicals (e.g., in food) and pheromones (i.e., social odors) directly to adaptive evolution. This includes a direct link to human brain development, via ecological, social, neurogenic, and socio-cognitive niche construction.
If it is something else that’s associated with the epigenetic effects of the social environment on brain development, is there a model for that?
See my model for comparison: Kohl, J.V. (2012) Human pheromones and food odors: epigenetic influences on the socioaffective nature of evolved behaviors. Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology, 2: 17338.read more July 24, 2012 • 5:55 AM