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Pheromone controlled adaptive evolution and climate change

Posted on May 10, 2013 by James Kohl.

AAAS Member spotlight on George Gilchrist  who examines the evolution happening around us. April 30, 2013 by Carrie Madren.

Among other things, studies by AAAS Fellow George Gilchrist suggest that some organisms are genetically predisposed to adapt to current climate change. This predisposition once again suggests that mutations are not involved in adaptive evolution, for a variety of scientifically substantiated reasons based on biological facts, which are not addressed in the context of evolutionary theory. For example, how did the sexes evolve? Did it ever occur to you that sex was an evolved trait?

Excerpt 1: 
“It had never occurred to me that sex was evolved trait,” he recalls, noting that scientists have tried to understand why there are males and females, why there are only two sexes (as opposed to three or four), and why mating evolved. (So far, scientists have some answers, but not all.)”

Excerpt 2: “The realization that came to me was that evolution really operated very quickly — on the same timescale that ecology operates,” says Gilchrist….

My comment: In all organisms, there are ecological constraints on the required nutrient-dependent social niche construction. This is exemplified by yeasts at the advent of their genetically predisposed ability to  sexually reproduce.

The availability of nutrients and their metabolism to pheromones enables pheromone-controlled morphogenesis into two cell types. In the context above, these cell types are represented as different sexes that recognize differences in their nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled sexual orientations.  See for example: From Fertilization to Adult Sexual Behavior  (p. 347) “Parenthetically it is interesting to note even the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae has a gene-based equivalent of sexual orientation (i.e., a-factor and alpha-factor physiologies). These differences arise from different epigenetic modifications of an otherwise identical MAT locus (Runge and Zakian, 1996; Wu and Haber, 1995).” The “epigenetic modifications” are nutrient-dependent.

Parenthetically,  it seems likely that when competition for nutrients occurs among more than two cell types, more that two “sexes” would evolve. In any case, it has since become clearer that Competition for nutrients between the sexes (i.e., two sexually dimorphic cell types) results in seemingly futile thermodynamic cycles of protein biosynthesis and degradation. Thus, at the advent of sexual reproduction (e.g., in yeasts), thermodynamically determined differences in the nutrient-dependent “pace” of protein biosynthesis and degradation (e.g., to pheromones) in the two cell types results in pheromone-controlled morphogenesis.  Morphogenesis is thereby associated with phenotypic expression of different mating factors. The alpha mating pheromone of yeasts enables nutrient-dependent organism-level and colony-level thermoregulation, which is required for adaptively evolved nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled species diversity and epistasis.

Climate change alters the thermodynamics of the seemingly futile nutrient-dependent cycles of hydrogen bond-dependent protein biosynthesis and degradation. That is why it is becoming more important to understand the molecular mechanisms that are conserved across species from microbes to man in all areas of research that pertain adaptive evolution, especially climate change. The effects of climate change on ecology are typically examined in the context of the availability of nutrients, but not examined in the context of nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled reproduction and balanced selection.

I think one reason that mutation-based theories of adaptive evolution gained and have maintained a foothold among evolutionary theorists is that many of them still cannot comprehend the fact that reproduction is nutrient-dependent and pheromone-controlled in species from microbes to man. Unfortunately, without a basis in that fact, which is essential to the understanding of balanced selection, their theories and opinions have no explanatory power.

Relatively meaningless study results are, nevertheless, meaningfully interpreted outside the context of biologically based adaptive evolution– until, as George Gilchrist noted, attempts are made to understand the adaptive evolution of two sexes. We now know was genetically predisposed from the start to be nutrient-dependent and pheromone-controlled. Indeed, many people also now realize that reproduction in species from microbes to man is nutrient-dependent and pheromone-controlled. Others, however, incorporate the nonsense of mutations theory into their opinions.

Feed a cold; starve a fever (or vice versa) is the old adage that comes to mind in this context. When infections occur, they result in perturbations of organism-level themoregulation in mammals. But the organism-level perturbations are thermodynamically controlled at the level of nutrient-dependent protein biosynthesis and degradation (e.g., into pheromones that signal reproductive fitness). A potential mate with uncontrolled thermoregulation manifested as a “fever” would be less appealing than one with nutrient-dependent pheromone production that signaled reproductive fitness. Of course, this would also explain the ability of those cancer-sniffing dogs via the same molecular mechanisms, instead of via any non-existent theory of the evolution of two sexes or nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled disease processes.



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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