“With the help of a tiny worm, Cornelia Bargmann is unpicking the neural circuits that drive eating, socializing and sex.”
by Stephen S. Hall
Excerpt: “…these deaf, part-blind, transparent creatures, which resemble nothing so much as wriggling specks of lint, could nonetheless yield enormous insight into how a nervous system creates behaviour.”
James Vaughn Kohl said:
Adaptive evolution appears to be nutrient-dependent and pheromone-controlled in species from microbes to man. This was demonstrated by Bumbarger et al (2013) in the context of: “System-wide Rewiring Underlies Behavioral Differences in Predatory and Bacterial-Feeding Nematodes.” Their approach incorporates aspects of ecological, social, and neurogenic niche construction elucidated by Cori Bargmann et al throughout her career, and in the honeybee model organism throughout the careers of many others. The three stages of niche construction are required to link sensory input to de novo protein synthesis (to genes) and to neurogenetically programmed behavior that enables social selection (for nutrient-dependent pheromone production).
Pheromones control genetically predisposed species-specific behavioral development via the control of nutrient-dependent reproduction in asexual and sexual variants of all species. The theme involves the epigenetic tweaking of immense gene networks by nutrients with control of the “tweaking” by pheromones, presumably via adaptive changes in the microRNA/messenger RNA balance.
Can we expect that a change in the diet of C. elegans would result in epigenetic tweaking manifested in the neurocircuitry of their sexual selection? If so, the results would go a long way towards explaining how an alanine substitution appears to alter the thermodynamics of intranuclear interactions, protein biosynthesis, and the adaptive evolution of nutrient-dependent physical traits associated with immune system function and with glandular secretions trapped by hair that contribute to pheromone production and distribution in a human population — as recently reported by Kamberov et al (2013) Modeling Recent Human Evolution in Mice by Expression of a Selected EDAR Variant and in Grossman et al (2013) Identifying Recent Adaptations in Large-Scale Genomic Data.
Declared commercial interest: I own the domain Pheromones.com and have modeled Nutrient-dependent Pheromone-controlled reproduction in a series of published and unpublished works.
See also: Lucrative Prize for Life Scientists: Excerpt: This year’s recipients, who are free to use the money as they please, include Cornelia Bargmann, who investigates neural circuits and animal behavior at Rockefeller University…”
My comment: Congratulations, Cori!