One origin? (viral evolution)

Travis Taggart ttaggart at RURALTEL.NET
Fri Jul 20 14:10:03 CDT 2001

>  From:"Panza, Robin" <PanzaR at CARNEGIEMUSEUMS.ORG>@USOBI.ORG on 07/20/2001
>  02:22 PM AST
>  A couple of mammalian genes does not a mammal make!  I
>  doubt any mammalian
>  virus has mammaries, or hair, or auditory ossicles, or
>  any of the characters
>  by which one defines a mammal.  By your reasoning, HIV,
>  a human virus, is a
>  human being!  All the many kinds of virus that infect
>  humans are also
>  humans.  Pray, tell, how does one diagnose Homo sapiens?
>  Robin K Panza

Mammals are defined only by the synapomorphies of the clade to which they
nest, nothing more or less. HIV may very well be a mammal, and I find that
viewpoint intriguing.

To take the cladist viewpoint even farther...
I have believed that only the nuclear genome is responsible for the
formation of lineages and thus is the systematic unit of organismal
interest. Extra nuclear DNAs (e.g. mtDNA) are extrinsic to this. Therefore,
the 1000's of extra-nuclear based phylogenies that have been published over
the past 30 years are not organismal phylogenies at all, and have no bearing
organismal relationships other than as a consilient test. In the mode of
host/parasite coevolution or vicariance biogeography.

Travis W. Taggart
ttaggart at

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