Nature (supplement) Vol. 486, No. 7403 (). Produced with support from Ajinomoto Co., Inc.
“Taste is central to our being, but this vital sense is only now becoming clear at the biological level. Scientists have identified the receptors that respond to the five basic stimuli of sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami (savoury), and are now exploring how the brain interprets them. Nature Outlook Taste reports the latest findings from the front lines of flavour.”
Here are links to the two articles from this supplement that I found most useful.
Taken together, these two open-access articles from the supplement offer a concise and reasonably accurate overview of the receptor-mediated events that are required for adaptive evolution. After reading 4 pages, it would be difficult for anyone who is vaguely familiar with biologically based cause and effect to attribute the required ecological, social, neurogenic, and cognitive niche construction of adaptive evolution to anything other than the epigenetic effects of olfactory/pheromonal input. There is, however, some misleading information on the role of random mutations. Evolutionary theorists can cling to that.
Unfortunately, the concision did not allow details of the evolved pathway in mammals that links food odors and pheromones directly to behavior via changes in intracellular signaling and stochastic gene expression in the hormone-secreting neurons of the medial preoptic area of the hypothalamus (e.g., in brain tissue). This neurogenic niche controls the development of every other neuronal system that is subsequently linked to behavior. For those details, you will need to read 7 more pages (with 3 pages of references). See, for example: Kohl, J.V. (2012) Human pheromones and food odors: epigenetic influences on the socioaffective nature of evolved behaviors. Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology, 2: 17338.
Nevertheless, reading only the 4 pages from the Nature supplement may advance the most vocal and errant of evolutionary theorists to a level of understanding about the importance of receptor-mediated events. This could lead further, perhaps even to an understanding of how animal models and model organisms are used to detail the adaptive evolution of behavior from microbes to man.
Anyone who can’t understand (e.g.,after reading 4 pages) why I focus on receptor-mediated events that cause adaptive evolution should remain silent to avoid letting others know how ignorant they are when it comes to the basic principles of biology and levels of biological organization required to link sensory cause to the adaptive evolution of human behavior.