For those interested in highly technical representations of the concept of human pheromones:
- B. Jesse Shapiro,
- Jonathan Friedman,
- Otto X. Cordero,
- Sarah P. Preheim,
- Sonia C. Timberlake,
- Gitta Szabó,
- Martin F. Polz,
- and Eric J. Alm
Science 6 April 2012: 336 (6077), 48–51. [DOI:10.1126/science.1218198]
Abstract (subscription required to read the full text of this article)
Genetic exchange is common among bacteria, but its effect on population diversity during ecological differentiation remains controversial. A fundamental question is whether advantageous mutations lead to selection of clonal genomes or, as in sexual eukaryotes, sweep through populations on their own. Here, we show that in two recently diverged populations of ocean bacteria, ecological differentiation has occurred akin to a sexual mechanism: A few genome regions have swept through subpopulations in a habitat-specific manner, accompanied by gradual separation of gene pools as evidenced by increased habitat specificity of the most recent recombinations. These findings reconcile previous, seemingly contradictory empirical observations of the genetic structure of bacterial populations and point to a more unified process of differentiation in bacteria and sexual eukaryotes than previously thought.
My comment on the full text of this article is apparently not going to be published so I will add it here:
Isn’t it most likely that nutrient chemicals establish the ecological niche of different bacterial species and that nutrient calibrated receptor-mediated events link the metabolism of nutrients to pheromones that standardize and control speciation (e.g., via changes in intracellular signaling and stochastic gene expression)? This would link microbes to man via the origins of the olfactory and immune systems with a clear evolutionary trail that can be followed by the development of olfaction and odor receptors. I’m having difficulty opening up a dialogue in this regard, despite my publication history, and current position in microbiology. Can anyone advise me on errors in logic, basic principles of biology, or levels of biological organization
in this regard?