Pheromone-controlled microRNA-124 and reproduction

miR-124 controls male reproductive success in Drosophila
Ruifen Weng, Jacqueline SR Chin, Joanne Y Yew, Natascha Bushati, Stephen M Cohen

A small RNA molecule called miR-124 controls pheromone production and sexual behaviour in Drosophila by regulating sex-specific gene expression in males.

My comment: In the article linked above, decapitated flies with their wings removed were used in an attempt to exclude any confounding evidence that might otherwise suggest sex specific responses to these stimuli are innate when they are obviously learned via association with pheromones in my model:The Mind’s Eyes: Human pheromones, neuroscience, and male sexual preferences. I think this article effectively removes the concerns Simon Le Vay expressed (see below). Besides, their use of ” Mutant males perfumed with cVA showed a significant improvement in their ability to achieve copulation with control females.” This may benefit product sales of human pheromone-enhanced fragrance products even though that has never been the intent of my research or most other researcher’s accurate representations of epigenetic cause and effect.

In Gay, Straight, and the Reason Why: The Science of Sexual Orientation

…Simon Le Vay wrote: “James Kohl, an independent researcher who also markets “human pheromones” to the general public, believes that pheromones may have a primary influence in setting up a person’s basic sexual orientation. Other, more consciously perceived aspects of attractiveness, such as facial appearance, are attached to a person’s basic orientation through a process of association during early postnatal life, according to Kohl. 35″

My comment: Whether or not I market human pheromones has nothing to do with that validity of my beliefs and my model. Nevertheless, I understand why Simon would attempt to inform others of my commercial interests.

…Simon Le Vay wrote: “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.”

My comment: The only alternative I know about would be to have complex genetically-coded instructions for every aspect of nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled reproduction.

…Simon Le Vay wrote: “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 boundary between genetically predisposed (i.e., prespecified) attraction and learned associations in all species is set by the ability of organisms to respond to odor cues associated with the requirement for nutrient acquisition (i.e., food odors) and socialization (i.e., pheromones).  Responses to food odors and pheromones are genetically predisposed and innate. Responses to sensory stimuli associated with food odors and pheromones are learned via experience-dependant epigenetic effects of food odors and pheromones on the molecular mechanisms common among species from microbes to man.

Author: James Kohl

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