A comment by Robyn A. Lindley led to this response from me.
Thanks for mentioning that, Robyn. Last week I was told by a co-editor of a prestigious neuroendocrinology journal to not bother submitting another manuscript because the reviewers generally consider an author’s recent scientific accomplishments when deciding on the acceptability of a manuscript for publication. The added insult was a comment about my lack of primary scientific contributions in the field of neuroendocrinology despite our 1996 publication of From Fertilization to Adult Sexual Behavior and an award-winning publication in 2001: Human pheromones: integrating neuroendocrinology and ethology.
Earlier rejection of what became “Nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled adaptive evolution: a model,” was quick and readily recognizable as an attempt to maintain focus on steroidogenesis with no mention whatsoever of epigenetic effects of olfactory/pheromonal input on gonadotropin releasing hormone, a decapeptide that’s been conserved across the past 400 million years of vertebrate evolution as a link from glucose and amino acid uptake to the pheromone-controlled physiology of reproduction.
If I had ever been in a publish or perish environment, I would have perished. As you say, “…the debate [about cause and effect] has never really been an open one.” For some, mutations will always be the driver of evolution because they have never considered the fact that the physiology of reproduction is nutrient-dependent and pheromone-controlled. Considering the biological facts now might be academically embarrassing. Thanks again.
I added an additional comment to the discussion, also (but I have already addressed this in other blog posts):
Critics who think undiscovered genetic variation might really be in play instead of epigenetic effects were dealt a severe blow to their theoretical approach on 9/13/13. In the first experiment to ever address whether fixation of mutations occurred in the genome, no evidence for fixation was found in the model organism C. elegans. See: Chelo et al. “An experimental test on the probability of extinction of new genetic variants.”
Evidence for the epigenetic effects of olfactory/pheromonal input on fixation of new alleles was reported in “Nutrient-dependent/pheromone-controlled adaptive evolution: a model.” This evidence includes fixation in “grazing” nematodes: C. elegans, compared to “predatory” nematodes: Pristionchus pacificus,(with their nutrient-dependent morphogenesis of teeth sans mutations theory).
It has become more apparent now than it was even just a year ago, that epigenetically-effected changes in base pairs lead to amino acid substitutions. One substitution can enable distinctive morphogenesis (e.g., of teeth and of plumage color or hair). And morphogenesis is clearly linked to natural selection via protein biosynthesis and metabolism of nutrients to species-specific pheromones that control reproduction in species from microbes to man.
Thus, the focus MUST rapidly change to the nutrient-dependent controlled physiology of reproduction in plant and animal species, instead of waiting for someone to discover undiscovered genetic variation or unknown molecular mechanisms that might really be in play instead of epigenetic effects on the conserved molecular mechanisms of plants and animals.