Genes from nowhere: adaptive evolution comment to New Scientist

By: James V. Kohl | Published on: January 21, 2013

Genes from nowhere: Orphans with a surprising story

  • 16 January 2013 by Helen Pilcher (SUBSCRIPTION REQUIRED)

Excerpt: “The upshot is that the chances of random mutations turning a bit of junk DNA into a new gene seem infinitesimally small. As the French biologist François Jacob famously wrote 35 years ago, “the probability that a functional protein would appear de novo by random association of amino acids is practically zero”.”
My comment: De novo gene expression is obviously nutrient chemical-dependent  — as is life in all organisms. The metabolism of nutrients to species-specific pheromones controls reproduction in species from microbes to man (as best exemplified in the honeybee model organism).
What is so difficult to grasp about the epigenetic effects of nutrients and pheromones in the context of how the epigenetic landscape becomes the physical landscape via chromatin remodeling? “Olfaction and odor receptors provide a clear evolutionary trail that can be followed from unicellular organisms to insects to humans.”
Chemical ecology enables adaptive evolution via ecological, social, neurogenic, and socio-cognitive niche construction. Once the ridiculous theory that random mutations cause adaptive evolution is eliminated from consideration (as has happened here), how can anyone not grasp the fact that adaptive evolution is epigenetically driven by nutrients and controlled by their metabolism to pheromones?
It should not take a more thorough explanation of the microRNA / messenger RNA balance to move forward in this context. Should it? Most people would not understand the molecular biology, anyway. But who doesn’t understand the role of nutrition and nutrient-dependent production of species-specific pheromones that control reproduction? There’s no other model for that, with or without details of the molecular mechanisms common to all species!
Kohl, J.V. (2012) Human pheromones and food odors: epigenetic influences on the socioaffective nature of evolved behaviors. Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology, 2: 17338. DOI: 10.3402/snp.v2i0.17338.

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