Dr. Arnulf Kletzin
Kletzin at bio.tu-darmstadt.de
Wed Feb 11 13:50:00 EST 1998
there is at lot to say to Prof. Segal's hypothesis. To make it brief:
There is no evidence supporting it, on the contrary. I have been
listening to one of his talks given at the Munich University in '89 or
so (I was grad. student at that time) and tried to start a scientific
discussion on his proposals, only the majority of the audience were
non-specialists who took for granted what he was saying and started a
political debate. But from my own judgement he made a lot of scientific
mistakes in his claims.
However, at the time when he put forward his hypothesis, hardly any
nucleotide sequence information of these viruses was available. So at
that point his hypothesis was worth being considered (A similar
hypothesis has been put forward by a german magazine called
"Wechselwirkung", claiming that natural recombination=genetic exchange,
between two different viruses occured in chimps which were infected and
whose blood was said to be injected into prisoners). But up to now a lot
of additional evidence has accumulated which more or less shows that
Segal is not right. And even as late as he held his talk in Munich, he
did not even take the sequence information into accout. At that time the
full sequences of at least 23 HIV isolates were available and deposited
in the publicly accessible databases (Genbank,
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/Web/Genbank/index.html) or EMBL
(http://www.ebi.ac.uk). The genome of many Visna isolates is also
The point is: When genetic material is introduced into another genome,
it can be traced, it must be much more similar to the original source
(meaning more or less identical) than to material from the target
organism. Things like that can easily being checked by computer analysis
of the sequences. And in the case of HIV this would mean that most of
the genome should be more or less identical ti HTLV-1 and 300
nucleotides should be more or less identical to Visna, some change
included due to mutation. But THIS IS NOT THE CASE: They are similar to
a certain degree: But that is because all these retroviruses are more or
less related to each other.
On other point: In 1977-1979 the technology of genetic manipulation of
bacteria was developed, but of higher cells it was not. Segal never
explained how he thinks the DNA was introdueced into the target cells
and also, how the researchers should have known what the target is.
I hope, you will find this helpful and I hope, there won't be staying so
many scientific myths on the net.
PS. The full citation of Gonda et al. (and of others relating to the
topic) can be found in Medline (incl. abstract):
Proceedings of the National Academy of Science U S A 1986
Human T-cell lymphotropic virus type III shares sequence homology with
a family of pathogenic lentiviruses.
Gonda MA, Braun MJ, Clements JE, Pyper JM, Wong-Staal F, Gallo RC,
The etiologic agent of the acquired immune deficiency syndrome, human
T-cell lymphotropic virus type III (HTLV-III), has
recently been shown to morphologically resemble and share sequence
homology with visna virus, a pathogenic lentivirus.
Molecular hybridization, heteroduplex mapping, and DNA sequence analyses
were used to compare HTLV-III to other lentiviruses
of domestic animals, including visna, caprine arthritis encephalitis,
and equine infectious anemia viruses. Hybridization results
showed that a substantial amount of sequence homology exists between
each of these viruses and HTLV-III. In addition, a closer
relationship was found between visna and caprine arthritis encephalitis
viruses than for any of the other lentiviruses studied. These
results, along with nucleotide and amino acid sequence comparisons, have
been used in a comprehensive effort to derive a
systematic relationship for lentiviruses and to provide further evidence
for classifying HTLV-III with the Lentivirinae subfamily of
retroviruses. This relationship predicts that similarities in biology
and disease process can be expected between HTLV-III and
other Lentivirinae members.
> >Can you provide the journal citation for Gondo et al.? Also is
> > there any substantiation for the prisoner testing model
> > for AIDS dissemination
> > the Segal's offer? This should be a matter of record.
> > Seems that acceptance of such theories awaits better
> > substantiation in proof - the smoking gun.
> My purpose here isn't to back Segal personally, yet, but just
> to open it for discussion. Actually, I was hoping that this
> newsgroup might be able to provide some concrete
> critique- either to attempt to refute, or to give more information.
> I am still digging, very much interested myself in where he
> gets the prisoner claims. I don't think that it is necessarily
> Segal's fault for not providing detail- it is equally likely
> that he's tried very much, but can't get published, won't
> be invited to speak, won't be invited to debate.
> I've seen a number of cases of such suppression of
> attempted debate already, as when the CDC director
> reneged on an offer to debate publically with Leonard Horowitz.
> Reportedly, the fact that Horowitz's book, "Emerging Viruses:
> AIDS and Ebola" should have been listed on the New York
> Times bestseller list was conveniently ignored.
> I have seen researchers practically begging to have a
> laboratory test of Segal's claims, only to be met with derision.
> For an interested layman like myself, who can't be expected
> to arbitrate these highly technical disputes, it does not enhance
> the credibility of the scientific establishment, merely to be told
> that this is all nonsense, and we should go away. Of the
> arguments that I CAN understand, I'm afraid that the other
> side is winning.
> Segal is old and retired- it's hard to find information on him.
> Probably, your best sources are the above-mentioned book
> by Horowitz, and also the books by Don Cantwell (whose
> writing style and analytical abilities do not impress me,
> but sometimes he can dig up some interesting raw information).
> As for "smoking guns", I think it is naive to expect such
> conveniences. We live in a wilderness of mirrors. The
> capabilities that exist today to fabricate films. documents,
> recordings, signatures would be beyond the wildest dreams
> of Goebels propaganda machine. As I've said, when you have
> a CIA that has done such things as to create phony videos
> with actors who look like the President of Indonesia, how
> can you expect "proof" that you can really trust?
> Like it or not, we have no choice but to make judgements
> on incomplete and possibly contaminated information. We
> have little choice, after making our best effort, to simply
> make our best guess as to the truth. When I see the
> House Speaker putting his arm around a man who has
> talked of putting gays in camps, I'm afraid that I'm likely
> to conclude that we are the target of genocide, all evidence
> to the contrary likely to be fabrication.
> It is foolish simply to curse "paranoia". It is high time for
> America to own up to the seriousness of its own history,
> the severity of anti-gay hatred, the consequences of
> government scandal.
> The only smoking guns of concern to minorities who imagine
> themselves to be a target of genocide, I'm afraid, might someday
> be the ones that they are holding toward the right-wing
> crackpots who pollute our political system. It is the only
> smoking gun that you can know for sure that you can
> trust. Pardon me- I'm just trying to tell you how some
> people out there, in the ghettos and trenches, might be
> feeling. Witness, for example, the extreme anger of the
> black community over the CIA/crack connection. The
> so-called "paranoia" has a basis in fact.
> Regards, Tom Keske
Dr. Arnulf Kletzin
Institut fuer Mikrobiologie
Technische Universitaet Darmstadt
64287 Darmstadt, Germany
Tel. # +49 6151 16-3555
Fax # +49 6151 16-2956
E-mail: Kletzin at bio.tu-darmstadt.de
or: un642ak at genius.embnet.dkfz-heidelberg.de
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