Nutrient-dependent / pheromone-controlled social structure

“Social” Chromosome Discovered By Sabrina Richards | January 16, 2013

“Researchers identify a chromosome in ants that influences colony social structure and, much like the mammalian Y sex chromosome, doesn’t recombine.”

Excerpt: The results help us “understand behavioral plasticity and alternative behavioral forms in as broad a genomic context as possible.” — Gene Robinson

My comment: Dr. Robinson helped detail nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled social behavior in the broadest genomic context possible, which is now detailed even further in this report on the “social” chromosome. For example, Elekonich and Robinson (2000) added invertebrates to our model of genetically predisposed hormone-organized and hormone-activated vertebrate social and sexual behavior. Their “from egg to adult” approach played nicely off our approach in From fertilization to adult sexual behavior.

In our review we did not limit ourselves to the molecular biology of invertebrates or vertebrates. We included what was known about the molecular epigenetics of  social behavior and sexual behavior in species from microbes to man. “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).”

Nutrient chemical uptake is clearly responsible for these epigenetic modifications of the MAT locus and also responsible for pheromone-controlled reproduction.  What we now see is that nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled reproduction and species divergence is the broadest genomic concept possible.

Wang et al (2013) make it clearer that epigenetic modifications of genes found in social chromosomes entered the continuum of adaptive evolution before the sex chromosomes. They also make it clearer that chemical ecology is the driving force of adaptive evolution.  We now have the ecological niche construction of “fat” queens for comparison to that of multiple queens with downstream differences in nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled social niche construction, which determines differences in behaviors of individuals and differences in the behaviors  of  entire colonies. These epigenetic effects of nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled genetically predisposed plasticity have also been detailed in the honeybee model organism.

That’s why I was able to use the honeybee to clarify the roles of ecological, social, neurogenic, and socio-cognitive niche construction in the context of nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled behavior in species from microbes to man. “The concept that is extended is the epigenetic tweaking of immense gene networks in ‘superorganisms’ (Lockett, Kucharski, & Maleszka, 2012) that ‘solve problems through the exchange and the selective cancellation and modification of signals (Bear, 2004, p. 330)’. It is now clearer how an environmental drive probably evolved from that of food ingestion in unicellular organisms to that of socialization in insects.

Now that genes on chromosomes in cells have been epigenetically linked to behavioral plasticity,  to alternative behavioral forms, and to socialization in ants, models of molecular epigenetics that extend across all species may become better accepted. For example, “It is also clear that, in mammals, food odors and pheromones cause changes in hormones such as LH, which has developmental affects on sexual behavior in nutrient-dependent, reproductively fit individuals across species of vertebrates.

The “bottom line” of molecular biology has not changed in more than 3 billion years of adaptive evolution. “Olfaction and odor receptors provide a clear evolutionary trail that can be followed from unicellular organisms to insects to humans.”

Kohl, J.V. (2012) Human pheromones and food odors: epigenetic influences on the socioaffective nature of evolved behaviors. Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology, 2: 17338. DOI: 10.3402/snp.v2i0.17338.







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