Science 7 March 2014:
Vol. 343 no. 6175 pp. 1088-1089

Combating Evolution to Fight Disease

Susan M. Rosenberg, Christine Queitsch | 5 Comments

Molecular mechanisms that generate biological diversity are rewriting ideas about how evolution proceeds, with implications for treating disease.

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"An alternative theory proposes environmentally induced change in an organism's behavior as the starting point (1), and “phenotypic plasticity” that is inherited across generations through an unspecified process of “genetic assimilation” (2)."

This is now more than merely an alternative theory of genetic assimilation. It links transgenerational epigenetic effects from nutrient uptake and RNA-mediated events to amino acid substitutions that differentiate the cell types of all cells in all individuals of all organisms. See, for example: Starvation-Induced Transgenerational Inheritance of Small RNAs in C. elegans

The nutrient stress-induced RNA-mediated events, which link the epigenetic landscape to the physical landscape of DNA in the organized genomes of species from microbes to man, also link morphological and behavioral diversity via conserved molecular mechanisms exemplified in the context of biologically plausible ecological speciation in nematodes.

See: System-wide Rewiring Underlies Behavioral Differences in Predatory and Bacterial-Feeding Nematodes

A difference in their feeding behavior and in the anatomy of their mouth parts is linked from nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled feedback loops to ecological, social, and neurogenic niche construction. The change in focus from mutations, natural selection, and the evolution of biodiversity via unknown evolutionary events to nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled RNA-mediated events that differentiate cell types may be required for others to realize the difference between evolutionary theories and biologically-based facts about RNA-mediated events.

RNA-mediated events are biophysically constrained, which means they are a biologically plausible way to link the physics and chemistry of protein folding to increasing organismal complexity via molecular biology. RNA-mediated events can also be compared to any unknown evolutionary events that might arise in the context of an alternative theory about constraint-breaking mutations, or other theories that include no mention of RNA-mediated events.

Submitted on Sat, 09/13/2014 - 08:58

Re: "Molecular biology and evolutionary biology have been separate disciplines and scientific cultures: The former is mechanistic and focused on molecules; the latter is theoretical and focused on populations."

Now see: A mechanistic link between gene regulation and genome architecture in mammalian development for the refutation of neo-Darwinian pseudoscientific nonsense.

Experimental evidence of biologically-based cause and effect does not support ideas about mutations, natural selection, and the evolution of biodiversity.

Experimental evidence of biologically-based cause and effect supports the fact that ecological variation leads to nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled ecological adaptations in species from microbes to man via conserved molecular mechanisms.

Submitted on Tue, 07/15/2014 - 22:13

I am concerned at the lack of understanding of basic evolutionary processes in the Perspective of Rosenberg and Queitsch. They assert that a cornerstone assumption of evolution is that mutations are 'the sole drivers of evolution'. That is nonsense as the driver of evolution is not mutations or variation but selection, be it natural, artificial, kin or sexual selection. Mutation is but one of the factors that contribute to variation. In addition, we have known for a long time that mutations are not solely random, constant or gradual. I seem to remember from high school biology (1960's) that the environment can effect mutation rates through heat, chemicals and radiation. Does the editorial process of Science not include Perspectives?

Submitted on Mon, 03/17/2014 - 14:28

Re:"...the driver of evolution is not mutations or variation but selection, be it natural, artificial, kin or sexual selection. Mutation is but one of the factors that contribute to variation."

I thought Robert Frye knew better than that, because he attended a 1993 symposium I organized and my 2007 Reiss Plenary session of The Mind's Eyes: Modeling the Development of Diverse Sexual Preferences.

Perhaps this is a different Robert Frye or one who thinks that sexual orientation arises via mutations and natural selection in human males but via nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled cell type differentiation in yeasts as we reported in our 1996 Hormones and Behavior review. From Fertilization to Adult Sexual Behavior "Parenthetically it is interesting to note even the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae has a gene-based equivalent of sexual orientation (i.e., a-factor and alpha-factor physiologies). These differences arise from different epigenetic modifications of an otherwise identical MAT locus..."

Robert: What about Anne's rams. Are they among the selected mutants that you think may have evolved their exclusive homosexual orientation?

Submitted on Sun, 09/07/2014 - 20:51

Darwin probably anticipated the insemination of population genetics that led to the bastardization of his detailed observations in the “Modern Synthesis.” He politely insisted that 'conditions of life' be considered before natural selection.

There are two 'conditions of life.' It is nutrient-dependent and pheromone-controlled. Rosenberg and Queitsch now note the work with Dobzhansky's rarely acknowledged claim: "I am a creationist and an evolutionist." They also declare the need for "Deep understanding of the mechanisms that generate variation at the molecular level..."

Deep understanding of the 'conditions of life' does not come from theory.

Problems with the "modern synthesis" now lead us back to the facts about biologically-based cause and effect that Darwin and Dobzhansky approached with humility, which are the same biological facts that evolutionists approached with ignorance about behavioral affects and the arrogance that accompanies that ignorance. Rosenberg and Queitsch echo the sentiments of those who have been subjected to academic suppression.

Clearly, however, “nothing in evolution makes sense except in the light of biology” is not an exaggeration. It is a common sense statement about the biologically plausible genesis of functional cell types. Population genetics and evolutionary theories abandoned the biophysical constraints of ecological variation and the physiology of reproduction, which enable epigenetically-effected nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled receptor-mediated ecological adaptations and species diversity via the complexities of protein folding and niche construction.

It's time for biophysicists to tell theorists and pathologists how to differentiate between theories about the genesis of different cell types and the biological facts about the nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled ecological adaptations that enable the genesis of different cell types in individuals of different species. Simply put, it's time to stop trying to explain ecological adaptations in the context of mutations and evolution.

Submitted on Fri, 03/07/2014 - 12:07