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Do retroviruses direct human evolution?

Discussion in 'XMRV Research and Replication Studies' started by mojoey, Oct 27, 2009.

  1. mojoey

    mojoey Senior Member

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    I am not a paid subscriber of Cheneyresearch.com anymore, but this blurb was available from the public page: http://www.cheneyresearch.com/category/subscribers

    "It is my sense that infectious RV’s and possibly Herpes Group viruses are universal “test” agents for cells they infect to see if they can buffer their redox state in the case of either an externally induced redox shift to a more oxidizing environment or internally produced by the viruses themselves as they have the machinery to do it. If they can overwhelm the redox buffer, they replicate rapidly and kill the cells which lytically explode releasing virions to try again in other cells. If you cannot control the redox buffer systemically, you die because such loss of buffer threatens the DNA and the species with it. Therefore, these endogenous viruses are the wolves culling out the weak sheep in the flock of humans who in turn face external environmental challenges that threaten their redox balance. By this method, these endogenous viruses and especially RV’s direct human evolution to some unknown end but they only allow the subset of humans who can properly defend their redox state to survive or procreate."

    My question is: If this is an evolutionary weed-out process, why is CFS not a fatal disease in vast majority of cases?
  2. firefly

    firefly

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    seems like you're assuming a teleological end with a grand narrative that the viruses are part of. not sure I buy into that. I'd rather think of them as nasty buggers to be defeated. You could technically make the same argument about wolves, floods, etc. Any natural element (alive, inanimate, or undetermined) that poses a challenge to human life.
  3. jenbooks

    jenbooks Guest

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    He's right and wrong. There was a nice new yorker article last year that included good stuff on viruses and evolution. You could read Lynn Margukis on symbiosis as the engine of evolution. That would include all organisms notjust retroviruses. Freeman Dyson write a good book addressing this as well called Origins of Life. He has described symbiosis Asa fatal infection that doesn't kill you. Certainly nature tests her creations and spurs complexity and change through selective pressure.

    On the other hand he is negatively romanticizing retroviruses. And his focus is too narrow and redox states are not the sole drivers of evolution. He does not grasp this subject well. Sorry for typos I'm onmy iPhone
  4. mojoey

    mojoey Senior Member

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    Hi Jen

    thanks for the recommendation. I remember reading Spontaneous Evolution by Bruce Lipton, and the idea was also about survival of the fitting-est (hence symbiosis) vs. survival of the fittest as the driver of evolution. I like the idea of a fatal infection that doesn't kill you as a form of punctuated equilibrium... never heard of that.

    The idea that CFS is a disease that decimates human productivity but doesn't kill you in most cases is something that will continue to really bug me from an evolutionary perspective.
  5. jenbooks

    jenbooks Guest

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    Evolution takes a bit of time. New insights into epigrnetics for instance shows what your grandpa ate abd was exposed to will shift who mates with humans your dad as well; what your grandma ate and was expoosed to affects future generations too ny switching gene activity off or on. Read Randy Jirtle. So nature plans ahead, trying to ensure survival. She wants several generations of offspring adapted to a given environment. If you get cfs young your reproductive success will be nil. You won't have the energy nor inclination for a big family. Your vulnerable genes will get winnowed out. It tajes a bit of time. Consider all the autistic kids. If vaccines, infections, and vulnerability to toxins have rendered them vulnerable and unfit for work or family, they won't reproduce. Goodbye vulnerable genes. My mother's side of the family has some yucky genes--long story but my mother managed to eel out me at 21 before deciding adoption was safer and I was infertile from undiagnosed celiac, and had her bicornuate uterus which would have required a caesarean had I been able to have a child. Her only sister was mostly infertile but managed one girl also who is gay. The buck inadvertantly stops here. Our genes on that side ain't fit. Mg fathers brother has four kids and four hrandkids already and I'm sure more on the way sooner or later. Nature approves. Hope you can decipher my iPhone typos!
  6. PoetInSF

    PoetInSF Senior Member

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    SF
    1. It's his opinion, a speculation at best, not a science.

    2. Evolution takes place through reproduction, and CFS is a disease largely among middle agers who are done with reproduction: they already have passed down their genes before CFS gets expressed and debilitates them. In this respect, it's similar most cancers in aging people. (I'm predicting that prevalence of early breast cancer will decrease as women postpone giving birth more and more and they die of breast cancer before reproducing).

    These are strictly my opinions.
  7. R**

    R** Senior Member

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    So the point of nature is to weed out the population? Or to adapt to it? Generationally speaking.
  8. lostinthedesert

    lostinthedesert Killer, Clown, Priestess

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    Nature has a point?

    My first bout of CFIDS was in my mid 20s. I wonder if I were living under more primitive conditions if it would have done me in. The world where we have stores and refrigerators full of food is different from the world where people had to hunt, gather or later tend herds and fields on a daily basis in order to survive.

    Peace,
    S
  9. R**

    R** Senior Member

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    I am asking based on Jen's comment.
  10. jenbooks

    jenbooks Guest

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    No, I never said that was the point. I do know nature is creative (look at all the life firms) and creativity requires a certain freedom to experiment which entails errors. I do agree she's red in tooth and claw; if you're not fit you die out. Adapt or die. These are the necessary laws of the enormous creativity of nature that has evolved butterflies and lions, bioluminescent fish that emit red light from their eyes and blind bats that use sonar, all the copious flowering trees of the world and innumerable species of beetles etc. You dint get that creativity without a cost. The cost is error and malfunction. Some experiments don't work. Nature is not sentimental.
  11. Mark

    Mark Acting CEO

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    Any confusion as to how 'evolution could allow this' is caused by looking at the evolutionary logic from the wrong point of view. Rather than thinking about our survival as hosts, you should think about the survival interests of the virus, and its occupation of an environmental niche that enables it to survive for long periods and reproduce. Simples.

    The punctuated equilbrium co-evolution idea is very interesting. Perhaps it's stating a granular description of an arms race between human and germ as between spider and fly, but the idea that we may have found, at the retroviral level, the genetic frontier between these two worlds, is very interesting. I do even wonder whether this could all represent the beginnings of a medical breakthrough that unlocks major secrets of immunology and cancer...as so often, the stone that the builders rejected as useless turns out to be the most important of all...
  12. oerganix

    oerganix Senior Member

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    Looking at evolution from a human perspective, I would like to mention that we may have become survivors because our "fitness" involves group efforts, not necessarily dominance by the strongest and most aggressive individual. We are social animals. Evolution in humans involves "gene pools". I think the current research efforts are a great example of a social effort to benefit the group. Although Nature is "red of tooth and claw", it also has altruism and in many cases, "love", in a not necessarily purely rational way.
  13. Mark

    Mark Acting CEO

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    We, our descendants, and our species, may or may not remain survivors. Only time will tell. For each of us individually, and collectively, in the long run, what doesn't kill us makes us stronger. The same is true for the retrovirus.
  14. Mark

    Mark Acting CEO

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    'Weaponised mycoplasma'?

    Regarding arms races, I was struck over the last 2 days by the number of people mentioning periods of illness of about the past 20 years, which mirrors the timeline of myself and all my friends with CFS-like conditions. I know there are cases going further back in time, and one wonders what attempts to map those patients might reveal, but in terms of a growing epidemic I'm thinking of the year 1991 as a watershed, of Gulf War Syndrome, and wonder whether, with regards to that battlefield environment, we have to consider all possibilities in relation to the origins of active XMRV-related strains.
  15. garcia

    garcia Aristocrat Extraordinaire

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    The bit of "evolution" that interests me in regards to XMRV is what happened the mouse. All the mice which were not resistant to the murine XMRV seem to have died out, since every mouse in existance not only carries the virus, but is also immune to it.

    Not good news for us you might think. But then mouse-kind doesn't have the WPI and Judy Mikovits on their side.
  16. oerganix

    oerganix Senior Member

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    Actually one of the scientists involved in this, sorry I don't remember who, but I remember him saying that as far as we know mice don't have it anymore, BUT that it is possible there are wild mice who do still have it. I can imagine this as a possible source of .the virus passing to humans, especially in situations where there are group "outbreaks" in humans.

    What intrigues me is that the evolutionary age of this virus, in all samples, has turned out to be very nearly or exactly the same, meaning it either mutates very slowly or it has recently been "loosed" upon us, by accident or intent. And then the paranoid part of me remembers past instances of human populations being experimented upon without consent or knowledge, which was revealed or acknowledged decades later in most instances.

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