Biology 2016, 5(2), 15; doi:10.3390/biology5020015
The Emergence of Physiology and Form: Natural Selection Revisited
John S. Torday
Evolutionary Medicine Program, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90502, USA
Academic Editor: Jukka Finne
Received: 17 February 2016 / Revised: 23 March 2016 / Accepted: 25 March 2016 / Published: 1 April 2016
Natural Selection describes how species have evolved differentially, but it is descriptive, non-mechanistic. What mechanisms does Nature use to accomplish this feat? One known way in which ancient natural forces affect development, phylogeny and physiology is through gravitational effects that have evolved as mechanotransduction, seen in the lung, kidney and bone, linking as molecular homologies to skin and brain. Tracing the ontogenetic and phylogenetic changes that have facilitated mechanotransduction identifies specific homologous cell-types and functional molecular markers for lung homeostasis that reveal how and why complex physiologic traits have evolved from the unicellular to the multicellular state. Such data are reinforced by their reverse-evolutionary patterns in chronic degenerative diseases. The physiologic responses of model organisms like Dictyostelium and yeast to gravity provide deep comparative molecular phenotypic homologies, revealing mammalian Target of Rapamycin (mTOR) as the final common pathway for vertical integration of vertebrate physiologic evolution; mTOR integrates calcium/lipid epistatic balance as both the proximate and ultimate positive selection pressure for vertebrate physiologic evolution. The commonality of all vertebrate structure-function relationships can be reduced to calcium/lipid homeostatic regulation as the fractal unit of vertebrate physiology, demonstrating the primacy of the unicellular state as the fundament of physiologic evolution.
Keywords: Natural Selection; mechanotransduction; calcium; lipid; evolution; cell-cell interaction; fractal; ultimate; proximate
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