Nutrient-dependent "tweaking" of immense gene networks (revisited)

Food as a Hormone

  • Karen K. Ryan and
  • Randy J. Seeley

Science 22 February 2013: 339 (6122), 918-919. [DOI:10.1126/science.1234062]

Excerpt: “…understanding our diets as a collection of signaling molecules, having hormone-like actions via cell-surface and nuclear receptor signaling, may provide new insights into the relationship between what we eat and metabolic disease.”

My comment:

I detailed the epigenetic effects of food odors associated with nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled species diversity in Kohl, J.V. (2012) Human pheromones and food odors: epigenetic influences on the socioaffective nature of evolved behaviors. Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology, 2: 17338. My conclusion was based on the concept of the epigenetic “tweaking” of immense gene networks and extension of the honeybee model organism of cause and effect. Simply put, “Olfaction and odor receptors provide a clear evolutionary trail that can be followed from unicellular organisms to insects to humans.”

The clarity that Ryan and Seely add to the complex systems biology of adaptive evolution can now be addressed by further examination of other recent works. On Feb 14, 2013 two published papers in “Cell” focus on data that they use to eloquently elucidate virtually all of what is currently known about natural selection for nutrient-dependent adaptively evolved pheromone-controlled sexual selection in a human population. Taken together, Kamberov et al, and Grossman et al., have extended a mammalian model to humans in which a change in a single base pair results in an amino acid substitution with downstream effects on the thermodynamic regulation of organism-level survival.

The change is manifested in increased eccrine and apocine gland density and hair thickness that enables sexual selection for species-specific pheromone production via the actions of microbes on the glandular secretion of nutrient metabolites associated with sexually dimorphic visually appealing physical characteristics. This occurs in the same context as our development of food preferences, which is driven by chemical appeal, not by visual appeal.

Everything I know about animal models places nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled adaptive evolution at the forefront of cause and effect, with effects on hormones that affect behavior. However, the link to nutrient-dependent disease processes is clearer in Ryan and Seely. I think they have made it more likely that people will compare what’s adaptive and maladaptive in terms of hormone-organized and hormone-activated evolved behavior via ecological, social, neurogenic, and socio-cognitive niche construction in vertebrates and invertebrates. Can we expect that the nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled development of our socio-cognitive niche will enable us — like the honeybee — to make the best choices for our survival? If not, may God help us all.

About James V. Kohl 1307 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