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Old 01-16-2006, 07:35 PM
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Are pheromones determined by Genetics?


Ok, KidChameleon and I have a dispute about whether Phermones have anything to do with Genetics.

Now, I thought that the entire purpose of phermones was to help one find their genetic match. So I was going under the assumption that because the way you look is determined by genetics, that the way your phermones smell is also determined by genetics.

He disputes this.

So would someone who knows more about genetics than either of us please weigh in on this?

Erek
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Old 01-16-2006, 07:48 PM
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BTW, it's pheromones. Anyone looking for your thread thru the search function is not going to find it unless they make the same typo...

How could they NOT be determined by genetics? That would be like saying blood isn't determined by genetics. I suppose it's possible that there are environmental factors that affect pheromones, but surely there it all starts with the genes.
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Old 01-16-2006, 08:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mswas
Now, I thought that the entire purpose of phermones was to help one find their genetic match.
Pheromones are chemicals released by one individual of a species that cause behavioral and physiological changes in another individual. They are not necessarily limited to mating behavior.

Pheromones in humans are poorly known. One would assume that variation in the pheromones between individuals would probably be genetically based.
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Old 01-16-2006, 09:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mswas
Ok, KidChameleon and I have a dispute about whether Phermones have anything to do with Genetics.
No, we don't.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mswas
Now, I thought that the entire purpose of phermones was to help one find their genetic match. So I was going under the assumption that because the way you look is determined by genetics, that the way your phermones smell is also determined by genetics.

He disputes this.
No, I don't.

Sheesh. This all started back in a pit thread about racism. mswas claimed that

Quote:
Originally Posted by mswas
genetics are an integral part of race. You make your attraction decisions by basically smelling their genes via their phermones
I agree that pheromones are determined from our genetic code, just as our blood type, number of digits and handedness are. None of these are used to determine race, though some phenotypes are more frequent in different populations.

My disagreement was with mswas's assertation that somehow the human olfactory system could break down pheromones and determine someone's 'race' from them and that people have historically been seperated by race using pheromones as one of the factors. He provided a citation to back up his claim. However, this site notes that "The scientific verdict is pending" and "there's absolutely no proof that they can deliver on any kind of erotic promise" and it just an article about human pheromones for sale. It does not say anything about the connection between race and pheromones.

There are studies of pheromones , but they have only shown a link to menstration cycles. My contention is that there is no scientific basis to claim that races can be seperated by pheromones.
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Old 01-16-2006, 09:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kidchameleon
My contention is that there is no scientific basis to claim that races can be seperated by pheromones.
You are correct. The second bit you quoted by mswas is complete rubbish.
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Old 01-16-2006, 10:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colibri
You are correct. The second bit you quoted by mswas is complete rubbish.
How is that rubbish? Are you disputing that we determine attraction based on phermones, and that genetics are part of the determining factor in that? That we choose our mate based upon genetic compatibility via phermones? Are you disputing that race is determined by genetics? If two white people have a kid is there a chance that their kid won't be white? Is that not determined by genetics?

Erek
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Old 01-16-2006, 10:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mswas
Are you disputing that we determine attraction based on phermones,
Cite

Quote:
and that genetics are part of the determining factor in that?
Cite

Quote:
That we choose our mate based upon genetic compatibility via phermones?
Cite

Quote:
Are you disputing that race is determined by genetics?
Yes. Try reading any one of dozens of threads about the relationship between so-called "race" and genetics.

Quote:
If two white people have a kid is there a chance that their kid won't be white? Is that not determined by genetics?
What do you mean by white, exactly?
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Old 01-16-2006, 10:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mswas
How is that rubbish? Are you disputing that we determine attraction based on phermones, and that genetics are part of the determining factor in that? That we choose our mate based upon genetic compatibility via phermones? Are you disputing that race is determined by genetics? If two white people have a kid is there a chance that their kid won't be white? Is that not determined by genetics?
It's rubbish because there is no scientific evidence supporting it-- you just made it up.

There is no evidence that we want to choose mates with similar genetics. In fact, if anything the opposite would be true. Also, there is no evidence that humans even have pheromones in the first place.

I have seen some studies that women asked to smell men's undershirts (yeah, sounds gross, but that's what they did) and decide which were attractive, generally chose those men whose immune systems were more different than their own.
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Old 01-16-2006, 10:14 PM
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Oh, and when I ask for a cite, I mean a link to a reputable scientific study, not some bullshit "news" story about aphrodisiacs.
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Old 01-16-2006, 10:18 PM
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Oops, forgot to finish...

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mace
I have seen some studies that women asked to smell men's undershirts (yeah, sounds gross, but that's what they did) and decide which were attractive, generally chose those men whose immune systems were more different than their own.
But I don't know if that was a truly scientific study-- ie, something published and repeated by other researchers.
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Old 01-17-2006, 12:00 AM
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Don't have anything to add, just popping in to set up a tent firmly in Colibri's camp and to lend my support as someone who works in a genetics lab.
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Old 01-17-2006, 11:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colibri
Oh, and when I ask for a cite, I mean a link to a reputable scientific study, not some bullshit "news" story about aphrodisiacs.
If you'll recall I posted this in GENERAL QUESTIONS. I just thought you might want to know what forum you're in. You are asking me for cites for my QUESTIONS. If you can't answer my question either, then maybe your knowledge ain't superior in this particular case.

Erek
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Old 01-17-2006, 12:02 PM
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I love how race exists when someone wants to make a point about some kind of political issue, but it doesn't exist when you start talking about genetics. Either race is an issue or it isn't. If both your parents have black skin you will have black skin. If both your parents have white skin then you will have white skin. THAT IS GENETIC. There are also other factors that lead to "RACE", which is term that is loosely based upon certain cultural evolutions that created differentiations in people's skin, hair, eye color and bone structure.

I never said Genetically similar I said GENETICALLY COMPATIBLE.

Since none of you are capable of answering my question, I'll see if someone shows up in here who actually knows what they are talking about who can answer them sufficiently. The rest of you seem to want to just sit back pull something out of your pants and wave it at me. If you can answer my inquiries, then your statements are useful, if not, it's just another circle jerk, and I'm not interested.

Erek
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Old 01-17-2006, 12:26 PM
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So you have no evidence whatsoever to support any of your assertions? Not one of them? And you talk about us pulling something out of our pants?

At least three of the people who have responded here (me, Smeghead, and John Mace) know quite a bit about genetics. I do not know Kid Chameleon's background, but he appears to know a good deal more than you do.

We answered your question.

- Variance in pheromones is probably based at least in part in genetics, though I am not aware of specific research on that subject in humans.

- There is no evidence that such variation, if it exists, is correlated in any way with "race." There is no reason to suppose that variation in pheromones should have any more correlation with skin color or eye color than blood type does.
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Old 01-17-2006, 12:56 PM
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You seem to be laboring under a set of misapprehensions. Let me see if I can clearly explain where your premise is incorrect.

1. To the best of my knowledge, there is absolutely NO evidence that human pheremones (a) play a significant role in human mating behavior, or for that matter (b) exist. Insects and other critters use them to communicate their mating status over long distances, but they lack such human innovations as communication and "Honk if You're Horny" T-shirts*.

2. You seem to be saying that individual humans emit a spectrum of pheremones that somehow reflects their genetic makeup. Ignoring point 1 for a moment, let's look at what pheremones are and how they're produced. They're chemicals. Usually fairly simple ones. And like every other chemical produced in the body, they would be produced by enzymes, which in turn would be coded for by genes. Presumably, each pheremone chemical would be created by its own enzyme. The spectrum of pheremones you personally produce would be determined by the specific pheremone-producing genes you were born with. HOWEVER, that's a very very long way from saying that your pheremones (which, remember, don't actually exist) provide a snapshot of your genetic makeup. Genes (well, chromosomes) assort independently. That is, unless two genes are very close together on the same chromosome, they're not connected - a child can get one but not the other. That's why hair color and eye color combinations can vary among a family, for instance. So having a pheremone would tell you absolutely NOTHING about the person's genetic makeup except for the fact that he has the gene for that particular pheremone.

3. I'm not entirely sure how race got into this, but if your assertion is that particular pheremones are associated with certain racial traits like skin color, well, that would require a very large research project to prove. This work has not been done, of course, because of point 1. If you can find any evidence to the contrary from reputable sources** I'll be happy to look at it.

*Please note: the use of humor in this post in no way invalidates the scientific validity of my points.
**Reputable = peer-reviewed scientific journals or at least articles from respected news media. Not reputable = websites offering to sell you human pheremones that will make cheerleaders horny.
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Old 01-17-2006, 01:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smeghead
human pheremones that will make cheerleaders horny.
Note to self: Upon winning powerball, fund research in this vitaly important, yet sadly negected, field.
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Old 01-17-2006, 01:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mswas
I love how race exists when someone wants to make a point about some kind of political issue, but it doesn't exist when you start talking about genetics. Either race is an issue or it isn't. If both your parents have black skin you will have black skin. If both your parents have white skin then you will have white skin. THAT IS GENETIC. There are also other factors that lead to "RACE", which is term that is loosely based upon certain cultural evolutions that created differentiations in people's skin, hair, eye color and bone structure.

I never said Genetically similar I said GENETICALLY COMPATIBLE.

Since none of you are capable of answering my question, I'll see if someone shows up in here who actually knows what they are talking about who can answer them sufficiently. The rest of you seem to want to just sit back pull something out of your pants and wave it at me. If you can answer my inquiries, then your statements are useful, if not, it's just another circle jerk, and I'm not interested.

Erek
Let's start at the beginning...

1. Do human pheromones exist? We don't know. There is speculation that they exist, but there is no actual evidence that they do.

2. If human pheromones do exist, then how would they affect mate selection? They certainly would encourage mating only within the species, but since all races of humans are the same species, that doesn't tell us very much. But if your theory were correct, we'd all be most strongly attracted to our siblings, since they are the people with whom we share the most genetic material. Is there any evidence of this? No, in fact we find the opposite-- prohibitions against incest seems to have a biological as well as cultural component.

3. Do humans tend to seek out mates with a similar genetic makeup? No evidence for this other than that we might have a cultural (not genetic) preference to people with a simlar culture.

Another important point is that you are not so much asking a question as making an assertion. Sure, your OP here was framed as a question, but it was vague at best and deliberately misleading at worst. It is not the same issue you raised in the pit thread. So, back up your assertion or admit that you don't know what you're talking about. There's nothing wrong with the latter option-- everyone on this board is ignorant of lots of topics. In any event, I can guarantee you that no one is going to be able to come in here and back up your claim with a peer reviewed scientific citation. No one.
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Old 01-17-2006, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Scumpup
Note to self: Upon winning powerball, fund research in this vitaly important, yet sadly negected, field.
You'd think there'd be some venture capital for that one...
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Old 01-17-2006, 01:45 PM
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In the interest of helping you understand this issue, can you clarify what you mean by this? It seems to be based on a misconception of what "RACE" is. I'm particularly interested in the part to which I added emphasis:

Quote:
Originally Posted by mswas
There are also other factors that lead to "RACE", which is term that is loosely based upon certain cultural evolutions that created differentiations in people's skin, hair, eye color and bone structure.
Also, from the OP, can you clarify what a "genetic match" is? Please be as specific as possible:

Quote:
I thought that the entire purpose of phermones was to help one find their genetic match.
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Old 01-17-2006, 02:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mace
Let's start at the beginning...

1. Do human pheromones exist? We don't know. There is speculation that they exist, but there is no actual evidence that they do.
Fair enough.

Quote:
2. If human pheromones do exist, then how would they affect mate selection? They certainly would encourage mating only within the species, but since all races of humans are the same species, that doesn't tell us very much. But if your theory were correct, we'd all be most strongly attracted to our siblings, since they are the people with whom we share the most genetic material. Is there any evidence of this? No, in fact we find the opposite-- prohibitions against incest seems to have a biological as well as cultural component.
The part about siblings does not follow because I said COMPATIBLE not similar. Meaning that on some primal level we pick the mate that we think will help us produce the offspring most likely to survive and carry on our genetic material.

Quote:
3. Do humans tend to seek out mates with a similar genetic makeup? No evidence for this other than that we might have a cultural (not genetic) preference to people with a simlar culture.
Again, I never used the word similar.

Quote:
Another important point is that you are not so much asking a question as making an assertion. Sure, your OP here was framed as a question, but it was vague at best and deliberately misleading at worst. It is not the same issue you raised in the pit thread. So, back up your assertion or admit that you don't know what you're talking about. There's nothing wrong with the latter option-- everyone on this board is ignorant of lots of topics. In any event, I can guarantee you that no one is going to be able to come in here and back up your claim with a peer reviewed scientific citation. No one.
I didn't make an assertion, I asked a question. People who have answers for me are more than welcome to make them, but I am not going to get sucked into a Great Debate if you don't mind. If people like Colibri wanted to show their superiority they would do much better to "Show not tell". I am not going to 'back up' my questions. I asked questions.


What I meant about race is just that back before modern transportation certain gene pools were isolated by geographic proximity, and they evolved to adapt to the particular location that they lived in. This created certain traits among those people that we in the modern world affectionately refer to as "race". So I induced that if our genes give us a certain bone structure type, a certain skin color, a certain consistency in our hair, then maybe that would affect our scent as well, and on an instinctual level we might make mating decisions based upon those factors. I appreciate the help with my genetics education, but I don't think that what I am implying is all that terribly radical. I am not saying Genetics are the ONLY factor, only that they are one factor amongst many.

Colibri And one last thing, I think it's pretty ridiculous to expect me to come up with sites while holding back information just so you can pull out your 'superior knowledge' when I was asking these questions in a forum called "General Questions". The only thing you would need to do to prove your superior knowledge is satisfactorily answer my questions. I am capable of learning you know.

Erek
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Old 01-17-2006, 04:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colibri
I do not know Kid Chameleon's background
I'm a simple chemist, I don't look at the big picture like all you biologists. No wait, the degree says masterful chemist...

Quote:
Originally Posted by mswas
So I induced
Whoa, there's a problem there. Deduce, don't induce.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mswas
that if our genes give us a certain bone structure type, a certain skin color, a certain consistency in our hair,
Well these traits are all survival traits. A large skeleton structure is useful in the plains, a smaller one better in the jungle. Darker skin closer to the equator, lighter skin where there's less sunlight. Pheromones haven't been shown to have any role in survival of the fittest any more than male-pattern baldness or osteoporosis. I'm concerned that you are assuming that your guesswork is correct when scientific studies have been done and have yet to show any relevance.
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Old 01-17-2006, 05:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mswas
I didn't make an assertion, I asked a question. People who have answers for me are more than welcome to make them, but I am not going to get sucked into a Great Debate if you don't mind. If people like Colibri wanted to show their superiority they would do much better to "Show not tell". I am not going to 'back up' my questions. I asked questions.


What I meant about race is just that back before modern transportation certain gene pools were isolated by geographic proximity, and they evolved to adapt to the particular location that they lived in. This created certain traits among those people that we in the modern world affectionately refer to as "race". So I induced that if our genes give us a certain bone structure type, a certain skin color, a certain consistency in our hair, then maybe that would affect our scent as well, and on an instinctual level we might make mating decisions based upon those factors. I appreciate the help with my genetics education, but I don't think that what I am implying is all that terribly radical. I am not saying Genetics are the ONLY factor, only that they are one factor amongst many.
OK, but what we're telling you is that not only is there no evidence that humans even have pheromones, there is also no evidence that the sense of smell varies between different ethnic groups. But it's really not necessary even to get into the sense of smell and ethnic variations because the more fundamental issue is that there is no evidence that humans produce or respond to pheromones (despite what some snake oil salesmen might want to tell you).

Do you consider that an answer to your question?
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Old 01-17-2006, 06:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mswas
I didn't make an assertion, I asked a question. People who have answers for me are more than welcome to make them, but I am not going to get sucked into a Great Debate if you don't mind. If people like Colibri wanted to show their superiority they would do much better to "Show not tell". I am not going to 'back up' my questions. I asked questions.
Nonsense. You asked an initial question, which we answered. Then you came back with this:

Quote:
Are you disputing that we determine attraction based on phermones, and that genetics are part of the determining factor in that? That we choose our mate based upon genetic compatibility via phermones? Are you disputing that race is determined by genetics? If two white people have a kid is there a chance that their kid won't be white? Is that not determined by genetics?
By initiatiing your so-called "questions" with "Are you disputing . . . " you are clearly framing them in terms of a debate. By stating them in this argumentative fashion, you make it appear that you believe these statements.

To answer succintly, most of the statements in your question have no evidence to support them. The answer to your question about "white people having a kid" depends on what exactly you mean by "white."


Quote:
What I meant about race is just that back before modern transportation certain gene pools were isolated by geographic proximity, and they evolved to adapt to the particular location that they lived in. This created certain traits among those people that we in the modern world affectionately refer to as "race". So I induced that if our genes give us a certain bone structure type, a certain skin color, a certain consistency in our hair, then maybe that would affect our scent as well, and on an instinctual level we might make mating decisions based upon those factors. I appreciate the help with my genetics education, but I don't think that what I am implying is all that terribly radical. I am not saying Genetics are the ONLY factor, only that they are one factor amongst many.
However, so-called "race" cannot be predicted on the basis of most individual characteristics.

For example, people with blue eyes can be identified as probably belonging to populations that originated in northern Europe. However, people with brown eyes can belong to any race at all, including "Caucasoid." With the minor exception noted, eye color provides no information about what "race" an individual belongs to.

Similarly, skin color is not an identifier of "race," with very limited exceptions. People with very dark skin tones can be found among "Caucasiod," "Negroid," and "Australoid" groups. People of medium skin tones can be found among all "races" except "Australoid."

While blood groups show some differences in frequency of distribution between populations, most of them are found in almost all populations.

As I said before, there is no reason to expect that an allelle for particular pheromone would be any more confined to a particular "race," or for that matter, to a particular population, than blood groups are.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mswas
Colibri And one last thing, I think it's pretty ridiculous to expect me to come up with sites while holding back information just so you can pull out your 'superior knowledge' when I was asking these questions in a forum called "General Questions". The only thing you would need to do to prove your superior knowledge is satisfactorily answer my questions.
"Holding back information"???

You also said:

Quote:
Originally Posted by mswas
Since none of you are capable of answering my question, I'll see if someone shows up in here who actually knows what they are talking about who can answer them sufficiently. The rest of you seem to want to just sit back pull something out of your pants and wave it at me. If you can answer my inquiries, then your statements are useful, if not, it's just another circle jerk, and I'm not interested.
So which is it? Do I have superior knowledge which I am spitefully holding back, or am I incapable of answering your question?

You were offered good information, which you appeared to reject. You are not asking questions in the spirit of simple inquiry, but appear to have a position which you are looking to support. That position does not seem to have been arrived at on the basis of evidence, but is one you "induced" yourself.

Quote:
I am capable of learning you know.
We shall see.
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Old 01-17-2006, 06:33 PM
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Kid Chameleon You INduce to form a hypothesis, you DEduce in order to test it.

Colibri Actually KC and i were sword fighting with our dicks, so I came in here looking for seconds to see who was right. I don't really have a whole lot of attachment to the outcome. However, I remain skeptical on the idea that every other physical feature is determined by genetics, but somehow we eliminate scent from that, it just doesn't seem logical. I mean scent would have a lot to do with what you ingest and your environment, but some of it must be created by your physical makeup, and I think that this has something to do with genetics and procreation. Nothing anyone has said has satisfied me that this is incorrect, but I'm not that interested in reopening this debate past the answers I have received.

I'm not going to get into a semantic argument about race, I'm not trying to prove some racist agenda or anything. The Gene Pool throughout history has been isolated into smaller parts by geographical proximity, and we have labelled that 'race' in our modern society. I am not going to go and give subclassifications as to what I think race is, but we all know that different survival and physical characteristics formed in different parts of the world through thousands of years of genetic isolation.

My hypothesis is that scent has something to do with how we pick our genetic matchup just as face shape, eye color, hair color, etc... do. The general consensus I have found here is that there isn't enough information to determine one way or the other on the subject.

The thing I know from having sex with multiple people is that scent has more to do with my sexual arousal than pretty much any other factor, and I generally preferred girls to not wear perfume so that it wouldn't cover their natural scent. I was very aware that I was looking for suitable mates, and I am certain that there were instinctual cues that I am not totally conscious of that went into my decisionmaking process. So you all have provided me with useful information, but none of it has falsified my hypothesis in any meaningful way.

Erek
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Old 01-17-2006, 07:11 PM
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mswas: You keep ignoring the most fundamental issue concerning your question: Humans don't have pheromones. It's as if you asked which race had better wings for flying. The anwer is: none. So far I've been stating this in very careful terms, saying that there isn't any evidence for the presence of human pheromones, but let's stop kidding around here. Humans don't have pheromones.
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Old 01-17-2006, 08:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mace
mswas: You keep ignoring the most fundamental issue concerning your question: Humans don't have pheromones. It's as if you asked which race had better wings for flying. The anwer is: none. So far I've been stating this in very careful terms, saying that there isn't any evidence for the presence of human pheromones, but let's stop kidding around here. Humans don't have pheromones.
Ok, you say that humans don't have pheromones, and others say the jury is still out. Yet I have heard and read that they exist. So to be 'skeptical' I am going to have to hold out for more evidence.

Do you deny that people have a scent that is unique to them? Maybe it's not called 'pheromones'.

Erek
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Old 01-17-2006, 08:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mswas
My hypothesis is that scent has something to do with how we pick our genetic matchup just as face shape, eye color, hair color, etc... do.
What do you mean by "genetic matchup"? As far as I know, any human being of the opposite sex could be considered your "genetic matchup" unless it's your sibling or first cousin or other close relative. Other than that, I don't know of any good reason that you should have a genetic clash with someone you have children with. (Unless you're both recessive carriers of some disorder like cystic fibrosis, in which case it's very unlikely that your hypothetical pheromones and pheromone receptors would "know" that you were a carrier.)

People who generally have the same genetic background (like two white people from the same part of Europe, for example) mate all the time and have perfectly healthy children as long as they aren't closely related. People who have vastly different genetic backgrounds (like Tiger Woods's diverse recent ancestors) also mate all the time and have perfectly healthy children. I don't understand where the concept of a "genetic match" fits into this.

Are you saying that you think that the very few people that you really shouldn't mate with are putting out pheromones that are supposed to warn you not to mate with them? Or are you saying that, for some reason other than consanguinity, certain people just shouldn't mate, and that the hypothetical pheromone synthesis-receptor system somehow "knows" this?

I really think your question would be easier to answer if we knew your ideas on the subject in a little more detail.
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Old 01-17-2006, 08:50 PM
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What do you mean by "genetic matchup"? As far as I know, any human being of the opposite sex could be considered your "genetic matchup" unless it's your sibling or first cousin or other close relative. Other than that, I don't know of any good reason that you should have a genetic clash with someone you have children with. (Unless you're both recessive carriers of some disorder like cystic fibrosis, in which case it's very unlikely that your hypothetical pheromones and pheromone receptors would "know" that you were a carrier.)
It's not just about genetic clashing, it's about the creative process. Call me a hopeless romantic, but I think that there are other factors of compatibility that goes into the process other than just trying to avoid a mongoloid child.

Quote:
People who generally have the same genetic background (like two white people from the same part of Europe, for example) mate all the time and have perfectly healthy children as long as they aren't closely related. People who have vastly different genetic backgrounds (like Tiger Woods's diverse recent ancestors) also mate all the time and have perfectly healthy children. I don't understand where the concept of a "genetic match" fits into this.
You are reading far too much into this. When I say "Genetic Match" I mean we make a decision instinctually that this is a suitable mate. I have met black girls who I would consider possible candidates, asian, and I even married an Israeli. My current wife is a white person of a similar descent to myself. I think there is some intention put into the creative process that creates our children, that the choice is not entirely random, even if it's largely unconscious. I am saying that race is factor, but not applying a pre-judgement to what kind of factor it is. Perhaps exotic is a benefit to you, perhaps you want something more close to home.

Quote:
Are you saying that you think that the very few people that you really shouldn't mate with are putting out pheromones that are supposed to warn you not to mate with them? Or are you saying that, for some reason other than consanguinity, certain people just shouldn't mate, and that the hypothetical pheromone synthesis-receptor system somehow "knows" this.
I am saying that there is some sort of unconscious attraction process that goes into the decision making process. I am not talking about should or shouldn't, I am talking about intention, want or don't want.

Quote:
I really think your question would be easier to answer if we knew your ideas on the subject in a little more detail.
I hope this helps.

Erek
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Old 01-17-2006, 09:19 PM
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I want to clarify something. In animals that do have pheromones (and we don't know that humans do), the pheromones are chemicals that are synthesized by certain enzymes and then released into the environment to induce behavioral changes in other individuals. The specific pheromones that an individual releases are determined by the enzymatic makeup of that individual, which is pretty much determined by that individual's genetic makeup.

So, in that sense, if you take the thread title literally, pheromones are definitely determined by genetics because genes code for enzymes and enzymes make pheromones.

But if there's some genetic reason that two individuals shouldn't mate, if they have certain genes that are incompatible, there's no mechanism that I know of that would link those incompatible genes (like recessive cystic fibrosis genes, for example) to the genes that code for the enzymes that synthesize (hypothetical) pheromones.

In order for pheromones to be able to communicate the information that another individual was or wasn't genetically compatible with you, the enzymes that make those pheromones would have to somehow be tied to the problem genes that might make you incompatible with another individual.

If this was the case, we would have a very complicated genome in which the specific contents of each of our tens of thousands of genes would somehow influence the expression of enzymes that synthesized pheromones that would communicate the contents of our genes to another individual.

The human genome has been sequenced and analyzed to some extent, and no one has found any evidence that one half of it is devoted to the synthesis of specific pheromones that communicate the contents of the other half of it. I think this is a very strong argument that we don't have pheromones that signal our "genetic compatiblily" to other people.

Am I making sense here?
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Old 01-17-2006, 09:43 PM
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Ok, you say that humans don't have pheromones, and others say the jury is still out. Yet I have heard and read that they exist. So to be 'skeptical' I am going to have to hold out for more evidence.
But, and this is the important part, are these "others" (who say human pheromones exist) scientists? Have they done the science, have they published their results, and have those resultes been repeated and accepted by the scientific community? If not, then there is no more reason to believe they exist than to believe that Bigfoot exists.

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Do you deny that people have a scent that is unique to them? Maybe it's not called 'pheromones'.
I don't know. Again, what does the science say about that? I mentioned earlier about a study of women who were asked to smell the undershirts of a number of men. In that study, the women were generally attracted to the men whose immune system was most different from their own. That would imply that they were attacted to genetic diversity, not genetic similarness. And this certainly makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint: the more genetic diversity in the population, the better. If any instict is at work, it's an instict to give you child a mix of alleles, not a bunch of alleles that are the same. Here's what I could find about the "T-shirt study". It doesn't appear to be much more than preliminary findings-- I'd hardly call it established sceince.

Also, you seem to be conflated "scent" with "pheromones". When you walk into a barnyard and smell the animal scents there, you're not smelling pheromones. And just because something has a scent doesn't make it a pheromone.

I'm afraid you are taking your personal experience and extrapolating to all of humanity. Your anecdotes simply don't constitute science. Sorry.
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Old 01-17-2006, 10:33 PM
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Originally Posted by mswas
It's not just about genetic clashing, it's about the creative process. Call me a hopeless romantic, but I think that there are other factors of compatibility that goes into the process other than just trying to avoid a mongoloid child.
There definitely are, but they have a tiny genetic component, if any. Maybe I'm not understanding you right, but it sounds like you're talking about things like whether she likes Quentin Tarantino movies as much as you, or whether she minds getting up at 5:30 to make you scrambled eggs. A very big part of the things that go into that kind of compatibility (which is entirely different from the "genetic" compatibility you were talking about before) are determined by culture and environment. If she likes posters of fuzzy kittens as much as you, that's determined by a complicated process that involves a lot of factors outside of genetics, and there's no way for the "I like fuzzy kittens" state that her brain happens to be in to influence the hypothetical pheromone-synthesizing enzymes in her apocrine glands to make pheromones to signal that fact.

I'm not trying to insult you by oversimplifying what you're saying, but there's really very little genetic basis for the kind of personality compatibility that you seem to be talking about. Personality traits have their basis in complicated configurations of cells and molecules in your brain that have a huge non-genetic component, and a mechanism to communicate those configurations to the enzymes that would make your hypothetical pheromones would come as a huge surprise to science, to say the least.
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Old 01-17-2006, 11:07 PM
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Ok, you say that humans don't have pheromones, and others say the jury is still out. Yet I have heard and read that they exist. So to be 'skeptical' I am going to have to hold out for more evidence.
I would say that as you are the one arguing that these hypothetical pheremones exist and are important, the burden of proof is on you to find some sort of evidence to back that statement up.
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Old 01-18-2006, 06:37 AM
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I think mswas has a fundamental misunderstanding of what pheremones in other animals actually do. All a moth's pheremones do is say "Here is a female moth of the Luna species", not "I am a female moth of the Luna species that carries the recessive club-antenna gene"

All you can tell about the genetics of an animal producing a particular pheremone, is that they carry the gene that codes for that pheremone. No more.
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Old 01-18-2006, 07:07 AM
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I'd like to congratulate all of the participants in this thread for realizing they're in General Questions and changing the course of what seemed to be the beginning of a trainwreck into a rather hopefully beneficial discussion. Let's keep it that way.

samclem GQ moderator
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Old 01-18-2006, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by MrDibble
I think mswas has a fundamental misunderstanding of what pheremones in other animals actually do. All a moth's pheremones do is say "Here is a female moth of the Luna species", not "I am a female moth of the Luna species that carries the recessive club-antenna gene"

All you can tell about the genetics of an animal producing a particular pheremone, is that they carry the gene that codes for that pheremone. No more.
Indeed, it would be evolutionarily disadvantageous for the moth to be too picky about which Luna species moth it mated with. Sure, it wants to mate with a genetically fit moth, but "has genes similar to me" is not the same as "geneticall fit". If a moth seeks out only those moths which are similar to it genetically, it is less likely to breed than one which is less picky about that particular fetish.
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Old 01-18-2006, 10:07 AM
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IIRC there was a study done on Amish people, which showed something about women picking the sweat soaked shirt of the Amish man who shared fewest HLA groups with her. In other words, the scent of the person most attractive to the woman was the man with whom she shared the least amount of DNA, i.e. the man with whom she was most likely to have healthy offspring.

It was used as an example in an Immunology lecture I had 5 years ago, but I can't find anything about on Google, so either I don't remember the details right or the lecturer was pulling it out of their ass.
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Old 01-18-2006, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by irishgirl
IIRC there was a study done on Amish people...
See the link in post #30.
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Old 01-18-2006, 11:32 AM
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John Mace For the third or fourth time I would like to humbly point out to you that I never ONCE used the word 'similar'. I used the word 'Compatible'. A penis and vagina are not SIMILAR but they are compatible.

Bob Scene Don't worry about me taking offense at what you say, you were one of the least condescending people in this thread. Your posts have been among the most helpful.

And as for conflating pheromones with scent, I'd like to point out that I clarified this distinction about halfway up this thread when people explained to me that what I thought pheromones did is not what pheromones did, and that's why I switched to the word 'scent'.

Again, what everyone has said is that the evidence is not conclusive, though what evidence there is does not support my hypothesis. I am willing to go with that. However, I don't find 'That would drastically change our conception of this area of science' as a compelling argument as to why it cannot be true. Lots of ideas change our understanding of an area of science. I was just reading last night in The New Scientist and they were talking about this physicist Heim who was working to reconcile Relativity and Quantum Mechanics and came up with a way to calculate the mass of a particle, and they talked about how even to this day his theories were very exotic to the Physics establishment. So his discoveries would certainly twist the conception of the Physics establishment, but that doesn't make his work incorrect. And for those of you most willing to jump down my throat because 'That's not real SCIENCE!!!', I am not using this as evidence to say that I am correct. Simply that I am not convinced that my questions have been fully satisfied, so I am keeping the door open for now.

I did get a lot of good answers though, thanks guys.

Erek
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Old 01-18-2006, 11:38 AM
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John Mace For the third or fourth time I would like to humbly point out to you that I never ONCE used the word 'similar'. I used the word 'Compatible'. A penis and vagina are not SIMILAR but they are compatible.
OK, what do you mean by "compatible". What is a "genetic match"? I asked you earlier to define that term, but you never did.
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Old 01-18-2006, 05:07 PM
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I did define it. This board could do with a little more precision on the whole. It would be nice if you people would learn the difference between, not defining it adequately, and not defining it at all. It would speed up the process of speaking to you immensely.

Compatibility is whatever the person selecting the mate decides is compatibility, based upon factors that I do not necessarily understand, which is why I am asking these questions here in this thread. We clearly don't choose to breed with just anyone on the street. I have had sex with multiple people, multiple times each, many times without a condom, and I have yet to breed with any of them. So clearly there is a selection process going on. What the mechanism for that selection process is, I do not know necessarily. I don't know what all the factors that go into compatibility are. For each person compatibility is unique, so I can't come up with some universal definition due to it's uniqueness on the one hand, and my limited knowledge of genetics on the other. I really need to finish "The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature"

Erek
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Old 01-18-2006, 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by mswas
I did define it. This board could do with a little more precision on the whole. It would be nice if you people would learn the difference between, not defining it adequately, and not defining it at all. It would speed up the process of speaking to you immensely.

Compatibility is whatever the person selecting the mate decides is compatibility, based upon factors that I do not necessarily understand, which is why I am asking these questions here in this thread. We clearly don't choose to breed with just anyone on the street. ... What the mechanism for that selection process is, I do not know necessarily. I don't know what all the factors that go into compatibility are. For each person compatibility is unique, so I can't come up with some universal definition due to it's uniqueness on the one hand, and my limited knowledge of genetics on the other. I really need to finish "The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature"

Erek
It sounds like you are asking if we select our mates according to how we would like to select our mates. I think the answer to that is: Yes. I left off the part of your quote that no one on this board is interested in, btw.
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