retroviruses; mammals

Ken Kinman kinman at HOTMAIL.COM
Wed Sep 29 08:44:03 CDT 1999

     I don't know a whole lot about viruses either, so I would encourage any
virologists to jump in to this discussion.  I can see how you could perhaps
make a case for HeLa cells, but not retroviruses.
     Although a retrovirus can presumably pick up genes from the host
mammal, I would think they would be a minor component.  Therefore, it would
be best regarded as a retrovirus with some extra genes.  Even if it isn't a
minor component, this is a horizontal transfer of mammal genes.  This is
very different from the HeLa cell example (which is something I have never
considered, but will give that some more thought).
                            -----Ken Kinman
>At 12:39 PM 9/28/99 -0700, Ken Kinman wrote:
> >    Please tell me you were kidding and making a joke.  I completely
>agree with Tom's statement, even if the possibility of it happening are
>infinitely small.
> >    However, viruses popping in and out of genomes is a totally different
>thing, so I do hope you were joking.
>       Curtis Clark responded:
>I might have been, but not intentionally. Viruses have histories, too, and
>although I have little expertise in virology (read: none), I have read that
>some retroviruses have domains, or produce products, or maybe both, that
>are strongly reminiscent of normal mammalian genetics. The implication
>isthat they started out as pieces of mammals. So, phylogenetically
>speaking,they *are* mammals (if, of course, that is how they originated).
>Another more clear-cut example gets back to humans: Henrietta Lack, or
>morespecifically her ovarian cancer, cultured as HeLa cells, which have
>spread by weedy clonal reproduction throughout many other cell culture
>Speciation, pure and simple (and no Mars required, just a shift in
>reproduction from sexual to clonal).

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