why change mycoplasma to make it cause Gulf War Illness.

JWS1 jws1 at aol.com
Sat Sep 2 11:04:45 EST 1995


Genetic engineering of a mycoplasma. That would be a neat trick.
Presently, there is very limited ability to do any genetic manipulation of
a mycoplasma. Very limited. Mycoplasmas have an altered genetic code and
have alternate codon base usage. Mycoplasmas are also very hard to
transform and have a very dynamic genome. Genetic manipulation of
mycoplasmas is still in the very early stages of development.

In addition, the results by many of these individuals who claim that
mycoplasmas are the "cause" of Gulf War syndrome should be questioned.
Mycoplasma incognitus is not really a new organisms; it is really a strain
of Mycoplasma fermentans - a common cell culture contaminant. (This has
been published a few years ago, and is the correct name of this organism.)
Although there is some evidence that Mycoplasma fermentans infection may
be associated with some health problems, it has never been really proven.
In fact, this is the organism that lead Dr. Montagnier to claim that you
don't get AIDS without mycoplasma infection. After watching the evidence
trickle in on this statement (even unpublish results), his statement is
probably incorrect. I am also aware of a number of active studies which
are examining the association of mycoplasmas with Gulf War "Syndrome". So
far there is no clear evidence to support this, but it is still too early
to state one way or another.

In a nut shell, I would think that any claims at the present time that
Mycoplasma fermentans (aka incognitus) is a cause of Gulf War Syndrome is
irresponsible and smacks of "tabloid" science. Especially as this
particular organisms has been touted as the cause of AIDS, rheumatoid
arthritis, and other diseases. We do not even know what the incidence of
this organism is in the normal populations (those without disease). And
for anyone to claim that this could be used as a biological warfare
weapon....just doesn't know anything about the area at all. This is
absurb...nonsense.
Jerry W. Simecka
Department of Microbiology
University of Alabama at Birmingham



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