The evolutionary process is ecological adaptation

I posted a few hours ago because Sean B. Carroll’s comments in Scientific American: Is America Evolving on Evolution? seemed to directly conflict with what is currently being touted by Masatoshi Nei, author of Mutation-Driven Evolution.

Nei says that natural selection isn’t the driving force of evolution. Carroll inferred that it is. He wrote: “In the evolutionary process a trait expands through a population when individuals possessing it survive longer and reproduce more than do those lacking the trait.”  Isn’t that evolutionary process called natural selection?

Isn’t natural selection the evolutionary process that Nei says is not the driving force of evolution? Haven’t Nei and Carroll both been claiming that mutations somehow cause evolution as they might if there was such a thing as mutation-initiated natural selection, which there may or may not be? Is anyone else confused when one proponent of mutation-driven evolution eliminates natural selection as the driving force of evolution at the same time another proponent of mutation-driven evolution relies on natural selection to drive the evolutionary process?

If so, it gets worse. Nei and Nozawa (2011) decided to not consider ecological factors in their attempt to clarify the roles of mutation and selection. As senior author, Carroll now writes:

1) “…changes in CHC production in ecologically-diverging populations may be an important general contributor to insect speciation.”

CHC production is nutrient-dependent and CHCs

2 “…act as pheromones which influence mate choice and mating success.”  See for quotes 1 and 2: “A Single Gene Affects Both Ecological Divergence and Mate Choice in Drosophila.”

Anyone who thought a consensus had ever been reached about cause and effect in the context of mutation-initiated natural selection, has now seen natural selection extracted. Nei and others  say it is no longer the driving force of mutation-driven evolution. Nei has also previously excluded consideration of ecological factors from mutation-initiated evolution.

Carroll seems to think that natural selection is important to evolution but he just inferred that ecological variation is an important general contributor to pheromone-controlled insect speciation and did not mention mutations in the context of ecological variation.

I think I can help Nei and Carroll ‘come to terms’ with the basic principles of biology and levels of biological organization required to link ecological variation to speciation in species from microbes to man. The terms they need to come to use are used in my model of nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled ecological adaptations, which was published as Nutrient-dependent/pheromone-controlled adaptive evolution: a model. I wrote: “This model details how chemical ecology drives adaptive evolution via: (1) ecological niche construction, (2) social niche construction, (3) neurogenic niche construction, and (4) socio-cognitive niche construction.”

In Human pheromones and food odors: epigenetic influences on the socioaffective nature of evolved behaviors, I wrote: “Olfaction and odor receptors provide a clear evolutionary trail that can be followed from unicellular organisms to insects to humans.” That trail is clear without the influence of mutations and without the influence of natural selection for anything except food, which must be naturally selected for speciation to occur via the pheromone-controlled physiology of reproduction in species from microbes to man.

Nei can stop touting mutation-driven evolution and Carroll can stop touting natural selection in the context of mutation-driven evolution. We can all now just simply agree that ecological variation causes epigenetically-effected non-random experience-driven receptor-mediated changes that link the epigenetic landscape to the physical landscape of DNA in the organized genome of all ecologically adapted species.

We can stop confusing others by touting theories that have never been supported by experimental evidence of biologically-based cause and effect because ecological factors were not considered, mutations should not have been considered and natural selection for something was somehow involved — unless it wasn’t, which means that ecological variation and natural selection of food were always involved in every species that ever lived on this planet.

Author: James Kohl

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