Evolution: innovations may have non-adaptive origins (sans mutations)

Q & A: Evolution Makes Do

By Chris Palmer

Evolutionary biologist Andreas Wagner argues that many evolutionary innovations may have non-adaptive origins.

Excerpt: “If exaptations are pervasive, then natural selection—which few doubt is critical for the preservation and spreading of traits—may not be that important for the origin of innovations in life’s history.”

See also: Rapid detection of positive selection in genes and genomes through variation clusters

Excerpt: “They occur in well-defined domains of a protein’s tertiary structure and show a large excess of amino acid replacement over silent substitutions.”

My comment: In my model of nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled ecological adaptations, RNA-directed DNA methylation links RNA-mediated cell type differentiation via amino acid substitutions to cell type differentiation in all cells of all individuals of all species from microbes to man.

My comment to The Scientist site:

Thermodynamically controlled exaptations that beneift organism-level thermoregulation link the development of antibiotic resistance in E. Coli to nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled survival of species via conserved molecular mechanisms. In my model, this establishes Natural Selection for nutrients as the driving force behind the exaptations that enable adaptive evolution, which is controlled by the metabolism of nutrients to species-specific pheromones. Exaptations become adaptations when the benefit to organism-level thermoregulation is fixed via chromatin remodeling and alternative splicings, but only after seemingly futile cycles of protein biosynthesis and degradation have occurred.

The result of the ‘futile’ cycles, which actually exemplify epigenetic ‘fine-tuning’ at the cellular level, is de novo creation of olfactory receptor genes that enable additional receptor-mediated acquisition of the nutrient that was initially beneficial. That benefit is ‘signaled’ to conspecifics via nutrient-dependent species-specific pheromone production, which enables nutrient-dependent species diversification in accordance with what is known about the physiology of ecological, social, neurogenic, and socio-cognitive niche construction.

The examples I used from model organisms of the epigenetic tweaking of immense gene networks via a single nutrient-dependent amino acid substitution follow, in part, from from Dr. Wagner’s lead in Rapid detection of positive selection in genes and genomes through variation clusters. The examples include a human population that adaptively evolved in central China during the past ~30,000 years. Human / non-human primate orthologues can be examined in the context of how nutrients alter the microRNA / messenger RNA balance from the bottom up, and how pheromones control the ‘balance’ of life from the top down, as is consistent with Darwin’s ‘conditions of life’ that precede Natural Selection. See for example miRNAs: effectors of environmental influences on gene expression and disease and MicroRNA-Driven Developmental Remodeling in the Brain Distinguishes Humans from Other Primates.

About James V. Kohl 1308 Articles
James Vaughn Kohl was the first to accurately conceptualize human pheromones, and began presenting his findings to the scientific community in 1992. He continues to present to, and publish for, diverse scientific and lay audiences, while constantly monitoring the scientific presses for new information that is relevant to the development of his initial and ongoing conceptualization of human pheromones. Recently, Kohl integrated scientific evidence that pinpoints the evolved neurophysiological mechanism that links olfactory/pheromonal input to genes in hormone-secreting cells of tissue in a specific area of the brain that is primarily involved in the sensory integration of olfactory and visual input, and in the development of human sexual preferences. His award-winning 2007 article/book chapter on multisensory integration: The Mind’s Eyes: Human pheromones, neuroscience, and male sexual preferences followed an award winning 2001 publication: Human pheromones: integrating neuroendocrinology and ethology, which was coauthored by disinguished researchers from Vienna. Rarely do researchers win awards in multiple disciplines, but Kohl’s 2001 award was for neuroscience, and his 2007 “Reiss Theory” award was for social science. Kohl has worked as a medical laboratory scientist since 1974, and he has devoted more than twenty-five years to researching the relationship between the sense of smell and the development of human sexual preferences. Unlike many researchers who work with non-human subjects, medical laboratory scientists use the latest technology from many scientific disciplines to perform a variety of specialized diagnostic medical testing on people. James V. Kohl is certified with: * American Society for Clinical Pathology * American Medical Technologists James V. Kohl is a member of: * Society for Neuroscience * Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology * Association for Chemoreception Sciences * Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality * International Society for Human Ethology * American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science * Mensa, the international high IQ society