Transposable elements vs mutation-driven evolution

Mutation-driven evolution, page 196: “…natural selection is an evolutionary process initiated by mutation.”

In my October 7, 2013 blog post “The peppered moth example (revisited)” I wrote: “There is probably no better example of ignorance in the context of biologically based cause and effect, than the peppered moth.”

On October 9, 2013,  we read Evolution in Color: From Peppered Moths to Walking Sticks by Carl Zimmer, who tells us: “… the evidence in favor of natural selection on peppered moths continued to accumulate. For one thing, Britain and other countries cleaned up their air in the late 1900s, and trees went from dark to light. Now natural selection’s balance shifted: black became a liability. And, as you’d predict, the dark moths went from common back to rare again.”

My comment: As indicated in my quote (above) from the book Mutation-driven evolution, the peppered moth was a model of how mutations supposedly led to the color change that enabled natural selection via predation. See for example this comment “A greater understanding of the peppered moth’s genetics will “complete the package” of research on “the best example of adaptation involving natural selection that we have”, says Bruce Grant, a retired population geneticist…”  That comment was echoed in the context of mutations theory here: “Robert Reed, an evolutionary developmental biologist at the University of California… said: ‘The fact that the carbonaria mutation maps to the same region as butterfly wing pattern genes is amazing. 

What is “amazing” about the “best example of adaptation involving mutation-initiated natural selection that we have” is that no one attempted to explain how the mutation that initiated the natural selection came and went. It arrived with the pollution and somehow effected what was claimed to be a population-wide color change in a moth species. But the moth species changed color again when the pollution was controlled. The mutation-initiated natural selection that comes and goes defies explanation via any current perspective on mutation-driven evolution, unless a a second mutation caused the change back to the original color.

The changes can, however, be explained without any theory about the involvement of mutations that come and go in moths or any other species. We now know that transposable elements (TEs) profoundly alter genome structure, function and evolution. We can use what’s known to explain the changes in the peppered moths and in other insect.

Background: Lepidoptera is a large order of insects that includes moths and butterflies. Bombyx mori is the moth species that was the first lepidopteran to have its genome sequenced.  Heliconius melpomene is a lepidopteran butterfly species. The H. melpomene genome is the third lepidopteran genome to be sequenced. The TE landscape of H. melpomene is distinct compared to B. mori  (see for review: Lavoie et al, 2013).

Explaining adaptive evolution sans mutations. In B. mori, differences in the TE landscape compared to H. melpomene correlate with  differences between the behavior of males and females that are pheromone-dependent. That fact literally helped to define the term “pheromones” in 1959. Others may now be aware of experimental evidence that shows species-specific mutations are not likely to be fixed in the DNA of the organized genome of any species. That biological fact means mutations cannot contribute anything whatsoever to natural selection. Given current knowledge of biological facts that can be compared to evolutionary theories, which have never been supported by experimental evidence, the role of TEs in pheromone-controlled adaptive evolution via sexual selection for pheromones may become clearer.

Explaining nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled adaptive evolution via TEs. Most people intuitively grasp one of the basic principles of biology, which is that nutrients are required to support life. Naturally, that means nutrients must be selected in all species. The metabolism of nutrients to species-specific pheromones controls reproduction. The levels of biological organization, which are required to link sensory cause to behavioral affect in species from microbes to man, incorporate the role of TEs in the nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled reproduction of lepidoptera. Indeed, the TEs probably come from what organism eat and are transposed based on feedback loops that allow pheromones to control the amount of transposed elements by controlling reproduction.




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