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Human Pheromones: extremely technical representation of the concept

Posted on April 6, 2012 by James Kohl.

For those interested in highly technical representations of the concept of human pheromones:

Population Genomics of Early Events in the Ecological Differentiation of Bacteria

  • B. Jesse Shapiro,
  • Jonathan Friedman,
  • Otto X. Cordero,
  • Sarah P. Preheim,
  • Sonia C. Timberlake,
  • Gitta Szabó,
  • Martin F. Polz,
  • and Eric J. Alm

Science 6 April 2012: 336 (6077), 4851. [DOI:10.1126/science.1218198]

Abstract (subscription required to read the full text of this article)

Genetic exchange is common among bacteria, but its effect on population diversity during ecological differentiation remains controversial. A fundamental question is whether advantageous mutations lead to selection of clonal genomes or, as in sexual eukaryotes, sweep through populations on their own. Here, we show that in two recently diverged populations of ocean bacteria, ecological differentiation has occurred akin to a sexual mechanism: A few genome regions have swept through subpopulations in a habitat-specific manner, accompanied by gradual separation of gene pools as evidenced by increased habitat specificity of the most recent recombinations. These findings reconcile previous, seemingly contradictory empirical observations of the genetic structure of bacterial populations and point to a more unified process of differentiation in bacteria and sexual eukaryotes than previously thought.

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My comment on the full text of this article is apparently not going to be published so I will add it here:

Isn’t it most likely that nutrient chemicals establish the ecological niche of different bacterial species and that nutrient calibrated receptor-mediated  events link the metabolism of nutrients to pheromones that standardize and  control speciation (e.g., via changes in intracellular signaling and  stochastic gene expression)? This would link microbes to man via the origins of the olfactory and immune systems with a clear evolutionary trail that can be followed by the development of olfaction and odor receptors. I’m having difficulty opening up a dialogue in this regard, despite my publication history, and current position in microbiology. Can anyone advise me on errors in logic, basic principles of biology, or levels of biological organization
in this regard?

 

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James Kohl
Retired medical laboratory scientist

James Kohl




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What is the vomeronasal organ (VNO)?

The vomeronasal organ (VNO) is a cone-shaped organ in the nasal cavity, which is believed to be one of the body's receptors of pheromones. More, specifically, the VNO, which is part of the accessory olfactory system in the nose, does not respond to normal scents, but may detect odorless, barely perceptible pheromones.

Other schools of thought believe that it is not the VNO but rather cells in our main olfactory system and their affects on hormones secreted by the hypothalamus that are responsible for the affects of pheromones.

Learn more about the science behind pheromones here.

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