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Pheromones, GnRH, and social neuroscience

Posted on April 22, 2013 by James Kohl.

Gordon Research Conference, 18-23 August 2013, West Dover, VT

Neuroethology: Behavior, Evolution & Neurobiology
Networks, Circuits, and Modules

Note: there is no mention of pheromones or social odors in any presentation title.

Excerpt: “The sixth Neuroethology GRC will be taking place at a time when classical neuroethological topics on sensory and motor systems are increasingly integrated with molecular and genomic approaches, social neuroscience, computational neurobiology, and robotics.”

The final conference presentation is at 8:30 pm – 9:05 pm by Yoshitaka Oka (University of Tokyo) “GnRH neurons involved in central regulation of reproduction and reproductive behavior.”

My comment: Why did they save for last the only conference presentation that links the nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled adaptive evolution of microbes to man? This might delay the opportunity for others to interpret their findings in the context of glucose uptake-regulation and pheromone-regulation of the GnRH neuronal system in mammals. Others might also then miss the opportunity to link adaptively evolved hormone-organized and hormone-activated behaviors in invertebrates to vertebrates (e.g., via the honeybee model organism).

I’m certain that the conference organizers realize the “…central regulation of reproduction and reproductive behavior” is nutrient-dependent and pheromone-controlled. Perhaps they simply hope to provide a surprise ending.  I hope I haven’t spoiled the surprise, but I think the role of GnRH should be considered at the beginning of any study design, since GnRH is conserved and its receptor is diversified across 400 million years of vertebrate evolution. That means it can also be linked to the adaptive evolution of species from microbes to man via olfaction and odor receptors.

See for example:
Neurobiological mechanisms underlying GnRH pulse generation by the hypothalamus

and

Innate versus learned odour processing in the mouse olfactory bulb

 

Other conference presentations that may be consistent with the facts about GnRH include:

Lauren O’Connell (Harvard University): “Evolutionary origins of neural substrates”

Seth Grant (Edinburgh University): “The cognitive big bang: Experimental approaches to vertebrate cognitive complexity”

Richard James (Bath University): “Animal social networks”

Nicholas Christakis (Harvard School of Public Health): “The evolutionary origins of social homophily”

Michael Platt (Duke University) “Primate social ethology: Tinbergen’s four questions revisited”

Amir Ayali (Tel Aviv University) “Multifaceted amine modulation in the insect STNS”

Jens Herberholz (University of Maryland) “Neural plasticity and behavioral consistency”

Eve Marder (Brandeis University) “Robust neuromodulation in the face of parameter variability”

Karen Maruska (Louisiana State University) “Understanding the link between genes and complex behaviors: Insights from network, genomic, and epistatic analyses”

Kim Hoke (Colorado State University) “Context shapes transcriptional and neural networks to modulate behavior”

Amy Toth (Iowa State University) “Genomic mechanisms of social dominance in paper wasps”

Ralph Greenspan (University of California, San Diego) “Epistatic gene interactions and behavior in Drosophila

Emma Coddington (Willamette University) “Hormonal modulation of neural rhythms underlying reproductive behaviors”

 

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James Kohl
Retired medical laboratory scientist

James Kohl




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