Parallel molecular evolution

By: James V. Kohl | Published on: October 10, 2012

My comment for “Parallel Molecular Evolution in an Herbivore Community” has been approved and may be viewed on the Science site.
“It’s difficult to swallow further propagation of a theory, which now includes
ingesting a toxin as one of the events that contributes to adaptive
The toxin did not kill the organism that ingested it, which is great for that
individual. But how did the epigenetic effects of the toxin on intracellular
signaling and stochastic gene expression contribute to species survival if
not via a species-specific change in the pheromones that control
Adaptive evolution via speciation is nutrient chemical-dependent and
reproduction is pheromone-dependent in all species. In the context of
ingesting a toxin, adaptive evolution requires two mistakes: 1) ingest the
toxin 2) chemically signal to conspecifics that it’s beneficial to their
Can anyone calculate the odds that two random events (e.g., ingestion of a
chemical and a change in chemical signaling) concurrently occur each time
adaptive evolution occurs via the requirement for ecological, social,
neurogenic, and socio-cognitive niche construction. That’s what’s required
for me to accept the theory that DNA mistakes are evolutionary innovations.
At a time when olfaction and odor receptors provide a clear evolutionary
trail that can be followed from unicellular organisms to insects to humans,
it is the inability to see the obvious pattern of biological design across
species that is more amazing to me than claims of adaptive evolution via
mutations that are now associated with ingested toxins.”

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