Developmental bias and niche construction
June 18, 2014 | James Kohl
Recommends that the ‘evolutionary process’ concept be broadened to accommodate phenomena that bias the course of evolution.
Such biases on selection include developmental bias and niche construction.
“THIS MODEL DETAILS HOW CHEMICAL ECOLOGY DRIVES ADAPTIVE EVOLUTION VIA: (1) ecological niche construction, (2) social niche construction, (3) neurogenic niche construction, and (4) socio-cognitive niche construction. This model exemplifies the epigenetic effects of olfactory/pheromonal conditioning, which alters genetically predisposed, nutrient-dependent, hormone-driven mammalian behavior and choices for pheromones that control reproduction…”
Excerpt: Niche construction theory (17, 32), like developmental systems theory (22), is built on a reciprocal view of the interaction of proximate and ultimate factors.
My comment to Science Magazine (Submitted on Fri, 12/16/2011 – 08:47):
From the perspective of molecular biology it seems most likely that the causal link between food acquisition and further developmental effects on all organisms is the most basic of all considerations. Organisms that lack sufficient nutrition do not reproduce. Those that reproduce use chemical signals to communicate self / non-self differences. The chemical signals are derived from successful metabolism of food. This makes chemical signals from food and from conspecifics the most important of all signals involved in biologically based cause and effect. The reciprocity, which requires food acquisition prior to reproduction and species survival, is correctly derived from what is already known about the epigenetic effects of chemical signals from food sources and from conspecifics, and their direct effect on the levels of biological organization that link them to the genes and behavior across species.
My invited and rejected review: Nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled ecological adaptations: from atoms to ecosystems
Abstract: This atoms to ecosystems model of ecological adaptations links nutrient-dependent epigenetic effects on base pairs and amino acid substitutions to pheromone-controlled changes in the microRNA / messenger RNA balance and chromosomal rearrangements. The nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled changes are required for the thermodynamic regulation of intracellular signaling, which enables biophysically constrained nutrient-dependent protein folding; experience-dependent receptor-mediated behaviors, and organism-level thermoregulation in ever-changing ecological niches and social niches. Nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled ecological, social, neurogenic and socio-cognitive niche construction are manifested in increasing organismal complexity in species from microbes to man. Species diversity is a biologically-based nutrient-dependent morphological fact and species-specific pheromones control the physiology of reproduction. The reciprocal relationships of species-typical nutrient-dependent morphological and behavioral diversity are enabled by pheromone-controlled reproduction. Ecological variations and biophysically constrained natural selection of nutrients cause the behaviors that enable ecological adaptations. Species diversity is ecologically validated proof-of-concept. Ideas from population genetics, which exclude ecological factors, are integrated with an experimental evidence-based approach that establishes what is currently known. This is known: Olfactory/pheromonal input links food odors and social odors from the epigenetic landscape to the physical landscape of DNA in the organized genomes of species from microbes to man during their development.
The difference between Laland’s monograph (and other works) and my series of published works is that I establish the link from the epigenetic landscape to the physical landscape of DNA via conserved molecular mechanisms in species from microbes to man. Nutrient-dependent amino acid substitutions clearly differentiate all cell types in all individuals of all species. The metabolism of nutrients to species-specific pheromones controls population-wide fixation of the nutrient-dependent amino acid substitutions via epigenetic effects on the physiology of reproduction, which affect behavior.
When viewed from the correct perspective on developmental bias and niche construction, the pseudoscientific nonsense touted by population geneticists can be eliminated from any further consideration whatsoever. Laland is leading others to understand there is no such thing as an evolutionary cause or an evolutionary process. But he is not making it clear that there is only ecological variation and ecological adaptations to replace theories about mutations, natural selection, and the evolution of biodiversity.
See also: Human Culture, an Evolutionary Force (2010).
Excerpt 1) “…culture itself seems to be a powerful force of natural selection. People adapt genetically to sustained cultural changes, like new diets. And this interaction works more quickly than other selective forces, “leading some practitioners to argue that gene-culture co-evolution could be the dominant mode of human evolution,” Kevin N. Laland and colleagues wrote in the February issue of Nature Reviews Genetics. Dr. Laland is an evolutionary biologist at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.”
Excerpt 2) “The case of the EDAR gene shows how cautious biologists have to be in interpreting the signals of selection seen in the genome scans. But it also points to the potential of the selective signals for bringing to light salient events in human prehistory as modern humans dispersed from the ancestral homeland in northeast Africa and adapted to novel environments.”
My comment: EDAR is the receptor that links epigenetic effects in mice to humans via conserved molecular mechanisms. See Kohl (2013) “These two reports (Grossman et al., 2013; Kamberov et al., 2013) tell a new short story of adaptive evolution. The story begins with what was probably a nutrient-dependent variant allele that arose in central China approximately 30,000 years ago. The effect of the allele is adaptive and it is manifested in the context of an effect on sweat, skin, hair, and teeth. In other mammals, like the mouse, the effect on sweat, skin, hair, and teeth is due to an epigenetic effect of nutrients on hormones responsible for the tweaking of immense gene networks that metabolize nutrients to pheromones. The pheromones control the nutrient-dependent hormone-dependent organization and activation of reproductive sexual behavior in mammals such as mice and humans, but also in invertebrates as previously indicated. That means the adaptive evolution of the human population, which is detailed in these two reports, is also likely to be nutrient-dependent and pheromone-controlled, since there is no other model for that.”