Science 7 February 2014:
Vol. 343 no. 6171 pp. 1242782-0
DOI:10.1126/science.1242782
Research Article

Secreting and Sensing the Same Molecule Allows Cells to Achieve Versatile Social Behaviors

Hyun Youk, Wendell A. Lim | 1 Comments

The etiquette of yeast cells that secrete signals that influence themselves and their neighbors is explored. [Also see Perspective by Lee and You]

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Re: "Evolution appears to favor efficient circuits and signaling elements that can accomplish many different tasks..."

That was inferred in our 1996 Hormones and Behavior review: From Fertilization to Adult Sexual Behavior. We started with the conserved molecular epigenetics of yeasts and extended nutrient-dependent genetic diversity from the metabolism of nutrients to the pheromone-controlled physiology of reproduction in species from microbes to man.

Four years later our yeast-to-mammalian model was extended by others to hormone-organized and hormone-activated invertebrate behavior, and 5 years after that to the life history transitions of the honeybee model organism.

Since then, "Signaling Crosstalk: Integrating Nutrient Availability and Sex" has linked yeasts to "Feedback loops link odor and pheromone signaling with reproduction" in other species and to "Nutrient-dependent/pheromone-controlled adaptive evolution: a model"

Placing all these published works into the context of evolution as Youk and Lim have done seems somewhat problematic for some evolutionary theorists. The conserved molecular mechanisms appear to represent adaptations to ecological variation via nutrient-dependent secretion of pheromones and the sensing of pheromones.

That links the epigenetic landscape to the physical landscape of DNA in the organized genomes of species from microbes to man.

The fact that ecological adaptations occur via a nutrient-dependent signaling pathway, which regulates a pheromone-controlled signalling pathway shows how unicellular and multicellular organisms produce a coordinated response to multiple stimuli with no consideration for mutations or for natural selection of anything except food.

That does not present a problem in the context of biologically-based food odor- and social odor-driven cause and effect, but it makes mutation-driven evolution appear to be not only biologically implausible but also to not be an ecologically valid approach to species diversity.

Submitted on Fri, 02/07/2014 - 16:44