Inherited fears in mice and humans

Do Mice and Humans Inherit the Fears of Their Fathers?

My comment: Thanks for asking. Of course they do. The inherited fears and their reaction are due to the conserved molecular mechanisms that directly link the epigenetic ‘landscape’ to the physical landscape of DNA in the organized genomes of species from microbes to man. I detailed that fact in a poster session that followed the more complete details in Nutrient-dependent / Pheromone–controlled thermodynamics and thermoregulation. A short video from the poster session is available here.

Excerpt from: Do Mice Really Inherit the Fears of Their Fathers? Scientists React by Virginia Hughes Nov 17, 2013 : Responses on Twitter were fast and furious, from “deep skepticism” to “awe-inspiring biology.” I’ve collected many of them here and will keep updating as the conversation continues…

My responses are not included. They never are, since Carl Zimmer and Ed Wong appear to somehow have managed to get National Geographic to block them from ever appearing at Phenomena: Only Human. The problem may be that no “Phenomena” are involved in the details of my model and that means that nothing discussed on The Loom is “Only Human.” My responses provide details of facts that clearly show that the molecular mechanisms of behavioral development are conserved across species from microbes to man. On November 15, Virginia Hughes briefly commented on what’s conserved.  “Do you have any idea of how this information being stored in the brain is being transmitted to the gonads?” the questioner asked. The short answer is that the researchers don’t have any idea, though they’ve thought about several possible explanations. Apparently a study in cats and pigeons showed that after smelling an odor, the odorant receptor molecules can get into the blood stream, and other studies have reported odorant receptors on sperm. So maybe the odor molecules get into the bloodstream and make their way to sperm.”

For now, though, Dias said, “those are two science-fiction hypotheses.”

My comment: It might sound like science-fiction to those who believe in theories of mutation-driven natural selection. However, there is no experimental evidence that supports that fiction, which means it can’t even be called science fiction.  For contrast, this researche knows that “Natural Selection Promotes Antigenic Evolvability” is the latest accurate representation among several others that remove natural selection from evolutionary theory. “The hypothesis that evolvability – the capacity to evolve by natural selection – is itself the object of natural selection is highly intriguing but remains controversial due in large part to a paucity of direct experimental evidence.” The problem is not the “paucity” of direct experimental evidence; the problem is that there is no experimental evidence to support mutations theory.

On November 15, Virginia Hughes included a comment about the conserved molecular mechanisms that are obviously involved:  “Another possibility is that microRNAs — tiny RNA molecules involved in gene expression — get into the bloodstream and deliver odor information to sperm.”

We commented on that likelihood in our 1996 Hormones and Behavior review article: From Fertilization to Adult Sexual Behavior in our section on “Molecular epigenetics:”

Yet another kind of epigenetic imprinting occurs in species as diverse as yeast, Drosophila, mice, and humans and is based upon small DNA-binding proteins called “chromo domain” proteins, e.g., polycomb. These proteins affect chromatin structure, often in telomeric regions, and thereby affect transcription and silencing of various genes…. 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…. That similar proteins perform functions in humans suggests the possibility that some human sex differences may arise from alternative splicings of otherwise identical genes.”

The pre-mRNA appears to now be reported in the context of  microRNAs.  In that context, we know that not only human sex differences genetically predisposed, but that all differences in genetically predisposed phenotypes in species from microbes to man are detemined by “alternative splicings of otherwise identical genes.” The alternative splicings link the epigenetic effects of olfactory/pheromonal input on the microRNA/messenger RNA balance to developmental differences in individuals and to phenotypic differences in species from microbes to man. The differences are nutrient-dependent and pheromone-controlled. See, for example:

Published abstract: Chemical ecology drives adaptive evolution via 1) ecological niche construction, 2) social niche construction, 3) neurogenic niche construction, and 4) socio-cognitive niche construction (Kohl, 2012). Nutrients are metabolized to pheromones that condition effects on hormones that affect behavior in the same way that food odors condition behavior associated with food preferences. For example: glucose (Roland and Moenter, 2011) and pheromones alter the secretion of gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). Across species comparisons of epigenetic effects on genetically predisposed nutrient-dependent and hormone-driven invertebrate and vertebrate social and sexual behavior indicate that human pheromones alter the development of the brain and behavior via the same molecular mechanisms (Krubitzer & Seelke, 2012), which are conserved across all species.

Compare my published abstract to this published abstract that describes what Virginia Hughes called “a seemingly astounding unpublished mouse study.”

Excerpt: “…pre-conception parental olfactory experience can profoundly influence how future generations navigate their olfactory space as adults. From a translational perspective, this work allows us to appreciate how ancestral experiences may influence the nervous systems of future generations…”

As I indicated, the mechanisms I detailed are missing from this new report. Why have the conserved molecular mechanisms of neuronal mosaicism been ignored since we first detailed them in 1996? One possibility is that people who are typically labeled “Creationists” are among those who have also reported on how the epigenetic landscape links the 20-30,000 genes of the human genome to reports of the 100-fold increase in the number of proteins that make us the modern humans that we are. See, for example: Explaining Organismal Complexity with Non-Coding DNA and see also Analysis of 6,515 exomes reveals the recent origin of most human protein-coding variants.

Clearly, the “Creationists” science and the scientific evidence that supports nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled adaptive evolution, which refutes the theory of mutation-driven evolution, are scaring the human pheromone-deniers, as was anticipated in 1971 by Lewis Thomas, who wrote: A Fear of Pheromones:   “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?”

What we do with our pheromones is the same thing that the mice do with their pheromones in the unpublished mouse study. We link our epigenetic landscape to the physical landscape of our DNA in our organized genomes via the de novo creation of olfactory receptor genes and the de novo creation of  nutrient-dependent species-specific blends of pheromones. That’s how mice and humans link the sensory environment directly to the thermodynamics and organism-level thermoregulation of adaptations in all species. Some theorists have obviously inherited the fears of their fathers who were afraid of any explanation involving pheromones. They are the theorists who have never explained mutation-initiated natural selection and avoided discussion of any biological facts that link Darwin’s ‘conditions of life’ the the biological basis of behavior in species from microbes to man. Those conditions of life are obviously nutrient-dependent and pheromone-controlled.


Author: James Kohl

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