Pheromones and longevity in flies (and worms)

Drosophila Life Span and Physiology Are Modulated by Sexual Perception and Reward

Abstract excerpt: “Mating reversed the effects of pheromone perception, suggesting a model where life span is modulated through integration of sensory and reward circuits and where healthy aging may be compromised when the expectations defined by sensory perception are discordant with ensuing experience.”

My comment to the Science Magazine site: submitted on 11/29/13 at 13:42 and approved on 12/2/13 at 12:27

Re (their conclusion) “…indirect genetic effects have the potential to be influential agents of natural selection (25), suggesting that expectation/reward imbalance may have broad effects on health and physiology in humans and may present a potent evolutionary force in nature.”

In my model, the evolutionary force is olfactory/pheromonal input. I have attempted to clarify the fact that “Olfaction and odor receptors provide a clear evolutionary trail that can be followed from unicellular organisms to insects to humans.” See, for example: “Human pheromones and food odors: epigenetic influences on the socioaffective nature of evolved behaviors.”

Problems with that representation involve a conflict with current theories of mutation-initiated natural selection, and its revision to mutation-driven evolution sans natural selection by removing biophysical constraints on adaptations to the sensory environment. Simply put, evolutionary theorists don’t seem to appreciate any challenges to their preferred theory, even as they change it to exclude physics. However, as we see here, there is substantially more evidence that adaptive evolution is nutrient-dependent and pheromone-controlled.

We addressed pheromone-controlled reproduction in yeasts, insects, nematodes, and mammals in the context of molecular epigenetics linked to alternative splicings in our 1996 Hormones and Behavior review. The model of hormone-organization and hormone-activation of behavior was extended to invertebrates by Elekonich and Robinson (2000).

In one of my subsequent published works I added examples of how nutrient-dependent single amino acid substitutions (see Dobzhansky, 1973)contribute to pheromone-controlled adaptive evolution and I used the honeybee model organism to link yeasts, nematodes, insects, and other mammals to humans via ecological, social, neurogenic, and socio-cognitive niche construction. See for examples: “Nutrient-dependent/pheromone-controlled adaptive evolution: a model” in Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology 2013, 3: 20553

The work reported here will facilitate comparisons of mutations theory to natural selection of nutrients and their metabolism to the pheromones that control the physiology of reproduction in species from microbes to man. That is what Darwin seemed to infer when he tried to establish the ‘conditions of life’ that must precede consideration of what might be naturally selected or sexually selected. We shall see what he meant.


See also for more information about longevity in flies and other species:

Pheromones and longevity in worms (and flies)


Author: James Kohl

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