Organic Compounds and the Miracle of Smell and Taste

By: James V. Kohl | Published on: February 5, 2016

Neo-Darwian evolutionary theorists and human ethologists seem to ignore the fact that reproductive isolation is nutrient-dependent and controlled by the physiology of reproduction.

…reproductive isolation may sometimes follow and at other times precede the adaptive divergence of gene pools of populations. — Dobzhansky (1972)

Those who cite Dobzhansky’s (1973)  claim that Nothing in Biology Makes Any Sense Except in the Light of Evolution, have failed to explain why

…the so-called alpha chains of hemoglobin have identical sequences of amino acids in man and the chimpanzee, but they differ in a single amino acid (out of 141) in the gorilla.

Single amino acid substitutions that differentiate species appear to arise only in the context of de novo gene creation that begins with the creation of olfactory receptor genes in all invertebrates and vertebrates. Therefore, de novo gene creation appears a miracle linked to the chemical senses of smell and taste.

The Miracles Of Smell And Taste (free book)

…the sense of smell developed in order to identify amino acid-like chemical substances soluble in water. The ability to determine molecules floating in the air is an adaptation of that original mechanism.96″ (p. 106)

See also:  How The Nose Knows: Research On Smell Boosted

“Amino acids are the signature of life,” he said. “Every living thing sheds amino acids. The olfactory system evolved to pick up information. Odors help an animal find food, avoid predators and locate a mate.”

See also:  Same switches program taste and smell in fruit flies

One way to get many types of cells or proteins from the same genetic starting material is by mixing and matching different parts of one gene to produce multiple gene readouts, a phenomenon known as alternative splicing. The team’s results point to another strategy, however: using the same genes in different combinations, or “combinatorial coding.”
By tweaking different fly genes and counting how many neuron types were produced as the flies matured, the team identified a network of five genes that work together like coordinated control switches to guide the precursor cells’ transformation to mature neurons. The genes regulate each other’s activity, interacting in unique combinations to set each precursor cell on a distinct path by turning on different olfactory receptors in each cell.

My comment: Small intranuclear proteins also participate in generating alternative splicing techniques of pre-mRNA and, by this mechanism, contribute to sexual differentiation in at least two species, Drosophila melanogaster and Caenorhabditis elegans (Adler and Hajduk, 1994; de Bono, Zarkower, and Hodgkin, 1995; Ge, Zuo, and Manley, 1991; Green, 1991; Parkhurst and Meneely, 1994; Wilkins, 1995; Wolfner, 1988). That similar proteins perform functions in humans suggests the possibility that some human sex differences may arise from alternative splicings of otherwise identical genes.
Conditioned hormonal and behavioral responses to odors associated with food selection and conspecifics in mammals require something like the collective ‘neural networks’ of beehives. Philosophically and metaphorically, these neural networks extend to mammalian brains. The concept that is extended is the epigenetic tweaking of immense gene networks in ‘superorganisms’ (Lockett, Kucharski, & Maleszka, 2012) that ‘solve problems through the exchange and the selective cancellation and modification of signals (Bear, 2004, p. 330)’.

See also: Table of Organic Compounds and their Smells: revised edition

See also: On the Origins of Chemophobia – Part 1

“Chemicals are the sinister and little-recognised partners of radiation entering into living organisms, passing from one to another in a chain of poisoning and death” – Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, 1962

My comment:  If not for nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled RNA-mediated DNA repair, we would have much more to fear from radiation than chemophobic pseudoscientists have to fear from others who have learned about human pheromones.
The Hellstrom Chronicle (1971)

A fictitious scientist called Dr. Nils Hellstrom (played by Lawrence Pressman) guides viewers throughout the film. He claims, on the basis of scientific-sounding theories, that insects will ultimately win the fight for survival on planet Earth because of their adaptability and ability to reproduce rapidly….

My comment: Nutrient-dependent metabolic networks are linked to genetic networks via the pheromone-controlled physiology of reproduction in species from microbes to humans.  However, facts about human pheromones are typically ignored by pseudoscientists.
A Fear of Pheromones (1971)

WHAT are we going to do if it turns out that we have pheromones? What on earth would we be doing with such things? With the richness of speech, and all our new devices for communication, why would we want to release odors into the air to convey information about anything? We can send notes, telephone, whisper cryptic invitations, announce the giving of parties, even bounce words off the moon and make them carom around the planets. Why a gas, or droplets of moisture made to be deposited on fenceposts?

On Smell (1980)

I should think we might fairly gauge the future of biological science, centuries ahead by estimating the time it will take to reach a complete comprehensive understanding of odor. It may not seem a profound enough problem to dominate all the life sciences, but it contains, piece by piece, all the mysteries  (p. 732).  — Lewis Thomas as cited in “The Scent of Eros: Mysteries of Odor in Human Sexuality

See also: Genes with monoallelic expression contribute disproportionately to genetic diversity in humans reported as:

The Spice of Life 


…in a gene with monoallelic expression, there’s an equal chance for either of the two copies to be expressed during early development—but only one of the copies will be expressed. This random decision doesn’t change the DNA in that cell, but the decision to express only one allele is “inherited” by the offspring of that cell, through what is called an epigenetic process. In other words, the identical genes in the daughter cells will also be monoallelic.

What Do We Actually Know About Pheromones?


But Kohl’s products, which he likens to food spices (“They give you an extra kick!”), make some researchers roll their eyes. Dr. Jim Pfaus, professor of psychology at Concordia University in Montreal, is one of them.

My comment: Jim Pfaus is one of many other biologically uninformed sex researchers. He knows nothing about physics, chemistry, or RNA-mediated amino acid substitutions and cell type differentiation. He can’t link link metabolic networks and genetic networks via the physiology of reproduction. He works with rodents, but doesn’t realize that the de novo creation of olfactory receptor genes must link species from microbes to humans via the conserved molecular mechanisms of cell type differentiation we detailed in the molecular epigenetics section of this 1996 review: From Fertilization to Adult Sexual Behavior

Parenthetically it is interesting to note even the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae has a gene-based equivalent of sexual orientation (i.e., a-factor and alpha-factor physiologies). These differences arise from different epigenetic modifications of an otherwise identical MAT locus (Runge and Zakian, 1996; Wu and Haber, 1995).

See also: 40 million years before butterflies existed, this creature evolved with strikingly similar looks.

It’s thought that Oregramma illecebrosa last shared a common ancestor with modern butterflies more than 320 million years ago. The fact that two quite unrelated insects developed these markings millions of years apart from one another is a perfect example of convergent evolution: Oregramma illecebrosa might not have shared space with owls, but plenty of big-eyed creatures — perhaps even dinosaurs, the prominent predators of the Jurassic period — could have served as inspiration for the markings.

My comment: No serious scientist I have ever met thinks that convergent evolution occurs in any two species. There is only experimental evidence that links ecological variation to lineage specific variation and ecological adaptation via energy-dependent hydrogen-atom transfer in DNA base pairs in solution. I am never surprised when Rachel Feltman or other journalist fail to link what is known about nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled biodiversity in butterflies to nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled biodiversity in all living genera via the same molecular mechanisms.
Like other biologically uninformed reporter, Ms. Feltman reports findings that she links to millions of years of evolution, instead of what is known about links from atoms to ecosystems in the context of metabolic networks linked to genetic networks. No matter how many serious scientists she interviews, pseudoscientists like Jim Pfaus will deter her from learning any facts about pheromones and the physiology of nutrient-dependent reproduction.
The fear of pheromones among sex researchers causes most of them to deny all the facts about RNA-mediated cell type differentiation that are known to serious scientists. For example, see: Feedback loops link odor and pheromone signaling with reproduction.
See also: Gay, Straight, and the Reason Why: The Science of Sexual Orientation (p. 210 – 211)

This model is attractive in that it solves the “binding problem” of sexual attraction. By that I mean the problem of why all the different features of men or women (visual appearance and feel of face, body, and genitals; voice quality, smell; personality and behavior, etc.) attract people as a more or less coherent package representing one sex, rather than as an arbitrary collage of male and female characteristics. If all these characteristics come to be attractive because they were experienced in association with a male- or female-specific pheromone, then they will naturally go together even in the absence of complex genetically coded instructions.”
Still, even in fruit flies, other sensory input besides pheromones — acoustic, tactile, and visual stimuli — play a role in sexual attraction, and sex specific responses to these stimuli appear to be innate rather than learned by association [36.]. We simply don’t know where the boundary between prespecified attraction and learned association lie in our own species, nor do we have compelling evidence for the primacy of one sense over another.

My comment: The primacy of olfaction has been linked from metabolic networks to genetic networks via hydrogen-atom transfer in DNA base pairs in solution, which link the virucidal effects of UV light to the stability of supercoiled DNA in all living genera via the physiology of reproduction and species-specific chromosomal rearrangements. All this has since been placed into the context of links from stress to cell type differentiation via microRNAs.

See:  Neuro-Epigenetic Indications of Acute Stress Response in Humans: The Case of MicroRNA-29c

Reported as: Targeting the mind/body connection in stress

The research for this study was conducted on 49 healthy young male adults. Researchers integrated the analysis of fMRI images of brain function during an acute social stress task and also measured levels of microRNAs—small RNAs that exert potent regulatory effects—obtained in a blood test before and three hours after the induced stress.

My comment: Again, researchers from Israel take the lead by providing even more information that links microRNAs and adhesion proteins to the stability of organized genomes via RNA-mediated protein folding chemistry in the context of hydrogen-atom transfer in DNA base pairs in solution, which is linked to supercoiled DNA that protects all living genera from virus-driven entropy.

If students in other countries learned more about how ecological variation must be linked to ecological adaptation, they could not possibly be taught to believe in the pseudoscientific nonsense of neo-Darwinian theories.


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