Et tu, Michael Stoddart

terrarium eco system
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How our NOSE shaped the human race: Ancestors lost their ability to detect sex pheromones to make men more faithful – and create the stable family unit

Excerpt: “Our sense of smell evolved to make human pheromones undetectable”

For contrast see: Evolutionists Cannot Account for the Origin of the Sense of Smell
My comment: If evolutionists could explain how the sense of smell evolved, there would be no reason for serious scientists to explain the difference between mutations and amino acid substitutions. Simply put, mutations perturb protein folding and are linked to physiopathology. Amino acid substitutions stabilize protein folding and are linked from nutrient uptake to their fixation by the physiology of reproduction in all species. In species from microbes to humans it is the nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled physiology of reproduction that enables fixation of the amino acid substitutions that link the biophysically constrained chemistry of RNA-mediated nutrient-dependent protein folding to cell type differentiation of all cells of all individuals.

According to the news release, the fact that bacteria and humans respond to pheromones without conscious detection has led yet another book author to claim that we must detect them to respond. That suggests our response is evolved. Everything else that is currently known to serious scientists about the detection of food odors and pheromones, proves that the hormone-responses that affect our behavior when we are exposed to food or other people, are classically conditioned. Like Pavlov’s dog, our response is innate and occurs at the level of unconscious affect.

1) New mechanisms of ‘social networking’ in bacteria and 2) Researchers report on CRISPR-cas surveillance complex that targets RNA are linked via the conserved molecular mechanism of nutrient-dependent RNA-directed DNA methylation and RNA-mediated amino acid substitutions to cell type differentiation.

1) “…the Rap60 protein inhibits sporulation, genetic competence (the uptake of foreign DNA), and biofilm formation. Phr60 acts as an extracellular cell-cell signaling peptide that coordinates the activity of Rap60 with population density…”

2)  “…bacteria themselves must confront a relentless tide of deadly invaders that include viruses and snippets of nucleic acid known as plasmids. To protect themselves, bacteria have evolved their own immune system. This system is adaptive and nucleic acid-based. It revolves around complexes…”

That’s revolves around complexes not evolves. See: Human pheromones and food odors: epigenetic influences on the socioaffective nature of evolved behaviors.

Among different bacterial species existing in similar environments, DNA uptake (Palchevskiy & Finkel, 2009) appears to have epigenetically ‘fed’ interspecies methylation and speciation via conjugation (Fall et al., 2007; Finkel & Kolter, 2001; Friso & Choi, 2002). This indicates that reproduction began with an active nutrient uptake mechanism in heterospecifics and that the mechanism evolved to become symbiogenesis in the conspecifics of asexual organisms (Margulis, 1998). In yeasts, epigenetic changes driven by nutrition might then have led to the creation of novel cell types, which are required at evolutionary advent of sexual reproduction (Jin et al., 2011). These epigenetic changes probably occur across the evolutionary continuum that includes both nutrition-dependent reproduction in unicellular organisms and sexual reproduction in mammals. For example, ingested plant microRNAs influence gene expression across kingdoms (Zhang et al., 2012). In mammals, this epigenetically links what mammals eat to changes in gene expression (McNulty et al., 2011) and to new genes required for the evolutionary development of the mammalian placenta (Lynch, Leclerc, May, & Wagner, 2011) and the human brain…”

See also: Nutrient-dependent/pheromone-controlled adaptive evolution: a model “…this model can be compared to any other factual representations of epigenesis and epistasis for determination of the best scientific ‘fit’.”

Stoddart’s perspective in The Scented Ape: The Biology and Culture of Human Odour is now 25 years out of date. His perspective was replaced in 1995 with The Scent of Eros: Mysteries of Odor in Human Sexuality.

Since then, the mysteries of odor have been explained in the context of what has been learned about physics, chemistry, and molecular epigenetics. See for example, our section on molecular epigenetics in From Fertilization to Adult Sexual Behavior. Our model of RNA-mediated cell type differentiation has since been extended across all genera in a series of published works that include many different review articles. The obvious link from nutrients to metabolic networks and genetic networks is the metabolism of nutrients to pheromones that control the physiology of reproduction and the hormones that affect our behavior.

The honeybee model organism exemplifies the link from RNA-directed DNA methylation to RNA-mediated amino acid substitutions that differentiate all cell types in invertebrates and vertebrates. So does everything known about nutritional epigenetics and pharmacogenomics. See, for example: Clinically Actionable Genotypes Among 10,000 Patients With Preemptive Pharmacogenomic Testing and Oppositional COMT Val158Met effects on resting state functional connectivity in adolescents and adults.

The articles link a single amino acid substitution to life history transitions and to sex differences in hormones and in morphological phenotypes and behavioral phenotypes via what is known about honeybees. “The honeybee already serves as a model organism for studying human immunity, disease resistance, allergic reaction, circadian rhythms, antibiotic resistance, the development of the brain and behavior, mental health, longevity, diseases of the X chromosome, learning and memory, as well as conditioned responses to sensory stimuli (Kohl, 2012).”

The conditioned responses occur whether or not honeybees are consciously aware that they are responding to food odors or detecting pheromones.

I look forward to reading Stoddart’s new book, but only to see if the journalist’s interpretation is correct in the context of what he now claims: “‘Over the past quarter of a million years, our unique species of ape came to regard the natural body smell as having a harmful effect on emerging social structures though its ability to telegraph our animal origins.” It will be interesting to place that claim into the context of Dobzhansky’s claim from 1973: “…the so-called alpha chains of hemoglobin have identical sequences of amino acids in man and the chimpanzee, but they differ in a single amino acid (out of 141) in the gorilla” (p. 127).

Perhaps Stoddart will tell us something not known about amino acid substitutions and biodiversity, or simple continue to claim that biodiversity somehow evolved outside the context of epigenetic links from olfactory/pheromonal input to the physical landscape of DNA in the organized genomes of species from microbes to man.

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