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Can Natural Selection Apply to HIV?

Gene Levinson gl1 at ix.netcom.com
Fri Jan 27 23:12:47 EST 1995

Since viruses are not sentient, they do not have "goals". The problem 
with this kind of teleological approach is that it makes it more 
difficult to understand just how and why viruses such as HIV emerge. I 
would suggest an excellent book on the subject, that illustrates the 
ways in which human activities encourage the emergence of HIV, ebola, 
multiple drug resistance and other scourges, including those that will 
almost certainly produce major, devastating epidemics in the future. The 
book is called "The Coming Plague", and is available in bookstores. It 
rivals the captivation of "The Hot Zone", and covers a broader scope, 
and is equally captivating. 

It is true that those viruses that reproduce most efficiently will 
prevail, and HIV most certainly evolves in its hosts. Natural selection 
most certainly acts on HIV. The virus mutates a million times faster 
than eukaryotic genes, because it has an error-prone reverse 
transcriptase. That plus human activities that encourage its spread is a 
deadly combination.

In <MAILQUEUE-101.950126102404.256 at molbiol.uct.ac.za> 
ED at molbiol.uct.ac.za ("RYBICKI, ED") writes: 

>> From:          druisi at aol.com (DRuisi)
>> Subject:       Can Natural Selection Apply to HIV?
>> Date:          25 Jan 1995 17:15:48 -0500
>> Reply-to:      druisi at aol.com (DRuisi)
>>   The ultimate goal of a virus is to reproduce.  
>Surely that should be: the ultimate goal of LIVING THINGS is to 
>> Since viruses are not alive...
>Really?  Pre-judging your case a little, aren't you?  There's a 
>whole lot of arguing goes on BEFORE you get to that point, BEFORE 
>you start basing arguments on that premise.
>  _____________________________________________________
> | Ed Rybicki, PhD          |  (ed at molbiol.uct.ac.za)  |
> | Dept Microbiology        | University of Cape Town  |    
> | Private Bag, Rondebosch  |   7700, South Africa     |          
> | fax: xx27-21-650 4023    |  tel: xx27-21-650 3265   |  
> |       URL: http://www.uct.ac.za/microbiology        |
>  -----------------------------------------------------

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