One origin? (viral evolution)

Mon Jul 23 10:01:43 CDT 2001

>>>>From: Barbara Ertter [mailto:ertter at UCLINK4.BERKELEY.EDU] Does this mean
that Homo sapiens (to use an example!) is paraphyletic unless all renegade
DNA (aka viruses) are included therein?  Fun!<<<<

So what does one do with viruses that infect more than one species?  Declare
all its hosts and it (and all the other viruses of all those hosts, and all
the other hosts of those viruses, etc.) a single species?

I still say that a few mammalian genes does not a mammal make!  Mammalian
viruses may be non-living (certainly, some virologists believe this). They
may be living but, due to their minimalist nature, outside the ken of
phylogenetic analysis.  If a couple of genes can define a taxon, then we're
prokaryotes--it's my understanding that we've got bits of bacterial DNA
inserted into our genomes, so we must be bacteria.  And I know humans share
genes with many other eukaryotic species, so all life must be one big, happy

Robin P.
panzar at
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
There is no job s simple that it can't be done wrong.

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