Epigenetic Shaping of Sociosexual Interactions: From Plants to Humans “…is the first attempt to interpret the higher social functions of organisms. This volume covers an extraordinarily wide range of biological research and provides a novel framework for understanding human-specific brain functions.”
My comment: The claim that this is the “first attempt” can be placed into the context of the conserved molecular mechanisms of nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled cell type differentiation we detailed in the section on molecular epigenetics of our 1996 Hormones and Behavior review article:
Excerpt: “Small intranuclear proteins also participate in generating alternative splicing techniques of pre-mRNA and, by this mechanism, contribute to sexual differentiation in at least two species, Drosophila melanogaster and Caenorhabditis elegans (Adler and Hajduk, 1994; de Bono, Zarkower, and Hodgkin, 1995; Ge, Zuo, and Manley, 1991; Green, 1991; Parkhurst and Meneely, 1994; Wilkins, 1995; Wolfner, 1988). That similar proteins perform functions in humans suggests the possibility that some human sex differences may arise from alternative splicings of otherwise identical genes.” (p. 337)
Nothing known about cell type differentiation has changed and the claims we made that link the epigenetic landscape to the physical landscape of DNA in the organized genomes of species from microbes to man. See this claim: “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).”
I am amazed that any serious scientist would continue to ignore that fact or the other facts we detailed and that anyone would now claim to be among the first “…to interpret the higher social functions of organisms.”
For example, LeVay may have said it best in the context of Gay, Straight, and the Reason Why: The Science of Sexual Orientation.
“This model is attractive in that it solves the “binding problem” of sexual attraction. By that I mean the problem of why all the different features of men or women (visual appearance and feel of face, body, and genitals; voice quality, smell; personality and behavior, etc.) attract people as a more or less coherent package representing one sex, rather than as an arbitrary collage of male and female characteristics. If all these characteristics come to be attractive because they were experienced in association with a male- or female-specific pheromone, then they will naturally go together even in the absence of complex genetically coded instructions.” (p. 210)
The model he refers to is the same model we presented in our 1996 review, with details added as they became available. The author’s copy of the award-winning 2006/2007 review was concurrently published as a book chapter and it is available here: The Mind’s Eyes: Human pheromones, neuroscience, and male sexual preferences.
Two more review articles have since been published in an effort to get serious scientists interested in linking the epigenetic landscape to the physical landscape of DNA in the organized genomes of all genera via the conserved molecular mechanisms of biologically-based cause and effect (e.g., cell type differentiation via amino acid substitutions) that have been known for more than 50 years.
Human pheromones and food odors: epigenetic influences on the socioaffective nature of evolved behaviors
Rather than claiming to be the first to do something that’s already been done, contributors to this special edition/book could address what I suggested in the concluding sentence of my 2013 review.
“… the model represented here is consistent with what is known about the epigenetic effects of ecologically important nutrients and pheromones on the adaptively evolved behavior of species from microbes to man. Minimally, this model can be compared to any other factual representations of epigenesis and epistasis for determination of the best scientific ‘fit’.”
Alternatively, serious scientists could wait another 50 years to distinguish themselves from those who Dobzahansky appears to have best described in Biology, molecular and organismic (1964): “,,,the only worthwhile biology is molecular biology. All else is “bird watching” or “butterfly collecting.” Bird watching and butterfly collecting are occupations manifestly unworthy of serious scientists!’