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Alu sequences and human evolution

RYBICKI, ED ED at molbiol.uct.ac.za
Tue Jul 19 03:46:38 EST 1994

> From:          fostercmd at aol.com (FOSTERCMD)

> retroviruses. Is this correct?   I am building a theory of 
evolution which
> postulates that viral integration
> into germ lines has played a significant role during the 
> periods in the
> evolutionary history of life on earth.   

OK so far...

>It is my belief that specific
> types of viruses
> originate from beyond earth,  arrive via comet vectors and their 
> debris, rain on
> earth and cause episodic jumps in the evolution of life.   

Now we're into the snake chasing!  One does not NEED to postulate an 
extraterrestrial origin for viruses; there are more than enough 
possible sources right here without having to postulate more.  
You've also been listening far too much to Fred Hoyle, and not 
enough to Carl Sagan.

>Does anybody have
> suggestions
> or thoughts to share?    

Yes: stick to the theory without the moonshine.  There is more than 
enough like speculation around to bolster your argument.

>Have there been any PCR studies on these types
> of
> meteorites inorder to search for viruses (DNA or RNA).

Now really: PCR for WHAT?  It is hard enough to do PCR for things we 
know about, without asking people to do PCR on lumps of blackened 
material from outer space, which MOST probably does not contain any 
XNA similar to anything we have sequenced.

  ?   Has anybody
> developed a reasonable phylogenetic tree for viruses? or 
> viruses into
> the grand scheme of the origin of life?   

Several people have - and they have multiple origins, depending on 
what they are (RNA or DNA, ds or ss).  I suggest you look at Eugene 
Koonin's latest (large) review in CRC Press (not got ref offhand, 
use online search to find).

> I haven't read any of his ideas on the existence of viruses or 
other forms
> of life on
> comets.   Can somebody tell me what his ideas are?

You are coming up with a theory of the extraterrestrial origin of 
viruses without having read the master of the game?  Tut, tut!  
Forget that it is all horsepucky; you really have no business 
launching out into this sort of thing without a thorough literature 
survey - in which case you wouldn't be asking these questions!  Read 
first, formulate theory later....

 | Ed Rybicki, PhD          |         Well, I tip my hat           |
 | (ed at micro.uct.ac.za)     |      To the new constitution         |
 | Dept Microbiology        | Take a bow for the new revolution... |
 | University of Cape Town  |  Then I get on my knees and pray     |
 | Private Bag, Rondebosch  |   We don't get get fooled again...   |
 | 7700, South Africa       |                                      |
 | fax: xx27-21-650 4023    |      - Pete Townshend, 1972          |
 | tel: xx27-21-650 3265    |      (Won't get fooled again)        |

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