de novo creation times two

October 12, 2013 | James Kohl

de novo is a Latin expression meaning “from the beginning,” “afresh,” “anew,” “beginning again.”

Phylogenomics Resolves Evolutionary Relationships among Ants, Bees, and Wasps [subscription required]

On 10/11/12 I wrote: Speculatively, it appears that speciation has occurred consistent with my model of conserved molecular mechanisms that link 1) olfactory/pheromonal input to 2) de novo creation of olfactory receptor genes and 3) nutrient-dependent amino acid substitutions to 4) pheromone-controlled reproduction as exemplified across species from microbes to man. However, the scale bar that appears to delineate speciation via the number of amino acid substitutions at different sites adds more specificity, which can now be addressed via identification of nutrient-dependent differences in pheromone production.

It will be interesting to read the article, which I just requested, to see if I interpreted Figure 2 correctly, or if perhaps a theory of mutation-initiated natural selection must still be used to explain speciation, even though no experimental evidence supports that theory.

The moderator of the human ethology group did not post that response.

I received the reprint today. Their mention of Nasonia vitripennis led me to the first characterization of genes that cause a qualitative change in an insect pheromone via use of a pre-existing signaling molecule. Those results added to what was known about the biosynthesis and evolution of chemical signals. I included that information in Kohl (2013). “In wasps, manipulation of the genetics of evolved species-specific pheromones characterized the change in a pre-existing signaling molecule triggered by a glucose-dependent (Yadav, Joshi, & Gurjar, 1987) stereochemical inversion (Niehuis et al., 2013).”

The link from glucose to the stereochemical inversion and species-specific pheromones enables a clearer representation of nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled species diversity in insects. That species diversity extends to species diversity in vertebrates including mammals. The extension is now two-fold via the de novo creation of olfactory receptor genes AND the de novo creation of species-specific pheromones from a pre-existing nutrient-dependent signaling molecule.

There is still no experimental evidence of mutation-initiated natural selection for the nutrient-dependent de novo creation of the pheromone ‘signature’ that results from a change to the pre-existing signaling molecule. There is evidence for the de novo creation of olfactory receptor genes in species from microbes to man.

Therefore, given the evidence, I will again take issue with Nei’s book-length misrepresentation in Mutation-Driven Evolution. He wrote “…natural selection is an evolutionary process initiated by mutation. It does not have any creative power in contrast to the statements made by some authors.” (p 196).

Clearly, natural selection is not an evolutionary process initiated by mutation, which explains why mutation-initiated natural selection has no creative power in the context of evolution. For contrast, natural selection for nutrients is associated with de novo creation of olfactory receptor genes and de novo creation of species-specific pheromones.

Thus, there is one way to get “from the beginning” to nutrient-dependent de novo creation of genes and de novo creation of pheromones that enables the nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled diversification of species. That way is a creative process that also enables adaptations in response to the challenges of an ever-changing epigenetic landscape.  The challenges are met by the creation of olfactory receptor genes and creation of nutrient-dependent species-specific pheromones that control the physiology of reproduction. Creation thereby links the epigenetic ‘landscape’ directly to the physical landscape of DNA in the organized genome of species from microbes to man via the same molecular mechanisms.

Did you really think that mutation-initiated natural selection could do that? Even Nei admitted that “It does not have any creative power…”



James Vaughn Kohl

James Vaughn Kohl

James Vaughn Kohl was the first to accurately conceptualize human pheromones, and began presenting his findings to the scientific community in 1992. He continues to present to, and publish for, diverse scientific and lay audiences, while constantly monitoring the scientific presses for new information that is relevant to the development of his initial and ongoing conceptualization of human pheromones.