Genes, orchid odors, and pheromones from blonds

By: James V. Kohl | Published on: January 9, 2016

1) The Genetics of Blond Hair (2014) and

2) Orchids give off human ‘body odor’ to attract mosquitoes (2016)

Both articles link RNA-mediated cell type differentiation in all invertebrates and all vertebrates to every aspect of cell type differentiation in plants.

  1. …studies of genetic variation in thousands of people have linked at least eight DNA regions to blondness based on the fact that a certain DNA letter, or base, was found in people with that hair color but not in people with other hair colors. Some of those base changes, or single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), were in genes involved in the production of pigments, such as melanin.
  2. Along with components common to many flowers, P. obtusata gives off some chemicals found in human body odor, the researchers reported here today at the annual meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology. Although the orchid’s “body odor” is barely detectable by humans, it does set off electrical activity in the mosquito’s antennae, indicating it may very well attract the insects.

My comment: Unfortunately, the nutrient energy-dependent base changes are not linked from the SNPs to the amino acid substitutions that differentiate all cell types. Most people do not know the amino acid substitutions are required to stabilize the organized genomes of all plants and all animals. Thus, blond hair is not linked to anything important to survival. Instead the odor of the orchid is linked from the magic of gene-centric cause to the evolution of blonds.
The report on SICB 2016 by Pennisi is disappointing. See for contrast: Bipolar drug turns foraging ants into scouts

On 1/8/16 I wrote:

See also:
“Stress dynamically regulates behavior and glutamatergic gene expression in hippocampus by opening a window of epigenetic plasticity”
Reported elsewhere as: “Newly discovered windows of brain plasticity may help with treatment of stress-related disorders”
Ms. Pennisi is one of few journalists that may link the BDNF Val66Met to the COMT Val158Met variant and life history transitions from the honeybee model organism to humans via what is known about molecular epigenetics and what is currently being presented during SICB 2016.

My comment: After I posted that comment, I found her report on the SICB 2016 presentation.  For comparison, in her 2015 SICB conference report, she linked all invertebrates to all vertebrates via a presentation on microRNAs. This year, instead of moving forward, she stopped short by not connecting energy-dependent base changes to the microRNA/messenger RNA balance and SNPs to differences in odors of plants and humans.  She could have linked those differences from plants to invertebrates and all vertebrates via microRNAs, adhesion proteins, and what is now known about supercoiled DNA.
See: All in the (bigger) family

…researchers have learned that production of both hormones depends on the same rate-limiting enzymes. And Jerome Hui of the Chinese University of Hong Kong found that in both insects and crustaceans, the same set of micro RNAs control expression of the genes for those enzymes.

My comment: The microRNAs and the hair color rs12821256 polymorphism link nutrient-dependent changes in tissue-specific enhancers to localized changes in morphological phenotypes in particular body regions and to the odors associated with the morphological phenotypes. Blond hair is a morphological phenotype.
See for other examples: Nutrient-dependent/pheromone-controlled adaptive evolution: a model

These two reports (Grossman et al., 2013; Kamberov et al., 2013) tell a new short story of adaptive evolution. The story begins with what was probably a nutrient-dependent variant allele that arose in central China approximately 30,000 years ago. The effect of the allele is adaptive and it is manifested in the context of an effect on sweat, skin, hair, and teeth. In other mammals, like the mouse, the effect on sweat, skin, hair, and teeth is due to an epigenetic effect of nutrients on hormones responsible for the tweaking of immense gene networks that metabolize nutrients to pheromones. The pheromones control the nutrient-dependent hormone-dependent organization and activation of reproductive sexual behavior in mammals such as mice and humans, but also in invertebrates as previously indicated. That means the adaptive evolution of the human population, which is detailed in these two reports, is also likely to be nutrient-dependent and pheromone-controlled, since there is no other model for that.

The 2016 SICB presentation links attraction of mosquitoes to RNA-mediated amino acid substitutions in orchids, which link flower odors to the pheromones of people. That transfer of information across species and kingdoms could be used by other researchers in attempts to prevent disease transmission by mosquitoes.
See: Amino Acid Residues Contributing to Function of the Heteromeric Insect Olfactory Receptor Complex

  1. The Or expressed in an OSN determines the sensitivity and specificity of the OSN [5], which in turn governs innate and learned olfactory behaviors, such as attraction to food and pheromones and avoidance of repellents [6].
  2.  …the Or-Orco complex has two important characteristics. First, the biophysical properties of the channel vary according to subunit composition, even with highly similar proteins such as BmOr-1-Orco and BmOr-3-Orco. Second, because ligand-selective Or sequences within and between insect species are extremely divergent, the primary amino acid sequence of the ion-conducting pore is likely to differ according to the subunit composition of the Or-Orco complex.

Feedback loops link odor and pheromone signaling with reproduction in all invertebrates and vertebrates via the conserved molecular mechanisms of RNA-mediated cell type differentiation. The de novo creation of an olfactory receptor (Or) expressed in an OSN is the link that “…governs innate and learned olfactory behaviors, such as attraction to food and pheromones…” Thus, the avoidance of repellents  is linked to the conserved molecular mechanisms of RNA-mediated amino acid substitutions and cell type differentiation across species.
Three questions arise:

  1. Could plant odors be used to trap disease carrying mosquitoes?
  2. If so, is there any need to cause mutations in mosquitoes and see if the mutations can be transmitted across generations?
  3. Should works like these be funded?

See also: orco mutant mosquitoes lose strong preference for humans and are not repelled by volatile DEET
My comment: Mutagenesis experiments clearly showed how loss of an Or in an OSN could be linked from amino acid substitutions to differences in morphological and behavioral phenotypes in mosquitoes and in flies.
See also: Targeted mutagenesis of Ae. aegypti orco


a, Snake plot of Ae. aegypti Orco with amino acids colour-coded to indicate conservation with Drosophila melanogaster. The amino acids encoded by the DNA bound by the orco ZFN (blue) and the epitope of the Drosophila anti-Orco antibody (green) are indicated.

My comment: Reporters who fail to link what is currently known about RNA-mediated cell type differentiation across species from microbes to man are not to be blamed for the diseases and suffering that neo-Darwinian evolutionary theorists have caused by their failure to understand any aspect of cell type differentiation. Researchers who continue to report their results from mutagenesis experiments in the context of ridiculous theories, or without adding the context known to serious scientists who link atoms to ecosystems, can be blamed.
If researchers do not ask their primary investigators to explain how atoms are linked to ecosystems so that they can design experiments and report results in the context of what is known to serious scientist, we will have many more years of SICB conferences that amount to little more than expensive social gatherings paid for with government funding.
For example see: Vandewege, MW, S Mangum, T Gabaldon, TA Castoe, DA Ray, FG Hoffmann (Under revision) Contrasting patterns of evolutionary diversification in the olfactory repertoires of reptile and bird genomes.  Genome Biology and Evolution.
My comment: There is no pattern of evolutionary diversification in vertebrates or invertebrates. There is only experimental evidence of how ecological variation is linked to ecological adaptation via the de novo creation of olfactory receptors in olfactory sensory neurons.
Researchers who have failed to link genes, orchid odors, and human pheromones prevent paradigm shifts. Paradigm shift preventers contribute to disease and suffering, while serious scientist are Combating Evolution to Fight Disease .


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