Department of Medical Physics, Royal Perth Hospital, Western Australia, 6001,
Valendar F Turner, John Papadimitriou, Barry Page, David Causer, Helman Alfonso, Sam Mhlongo, Todd Miller, Christian Fiala
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Re: Re: Two questions to Brian Foley
In response to our rapid Response “Two questions to Brian Foley”, 28th April 2004, Brian Foley posted two rapid responses entitled “Re: Two questions to Brian Foley”, 29th April 2004, but he did not answer our questions.
Let us rephrase our first question:
Is it true that the ultimate origin of all the “HIV” molecular clones (“HIV” genome) is a poly(A)-RNA present in the 1.16gm/ml band? Yes or No?
In regard to our second question we must point out that Brian Foley describes himself as an “HIV” researcher and apparently is the keeper of the “HIV” Sequences Database. In this debate, in an attempt to prove us wrong, he repeatedly uses the existence of “infectious molecular clones of HIV”. For example, in his rapid response “Re: Where are the experiments which prove HIV isolation, sexual transmission and antibody specificity”, 23rd May 2003, he wrote: “There are several dozen infectious molecular clones of HIV-1, HIV-2, SIVs from various non-human primate species, and even hybrids made between HIVs and SIVs (called SHIVs) which are in widespread use in labs all over the world. Many of these infectious molecular clones can be purchased from the AIDS Reagent Repositories”
In his rapid response “Re: A modest proposal”, 1st June 2003, he wrote: “Infectious molecular clones on the other hand can be made 100% pure, free of even viral proteins, they are just naked DNA copies of the viral genome. There are thousands of other advantages of cloning, over crude density preps of viruses".
In his rapid response “Re: Where is the proof for HIV purification by any method?”, 26 June 2003, he wrote: “When the research does require "pure" virus, cloning of a complete viral genome into an infectious molecular clone is by far more accurate and informative than centifugation of whole virus from cell cultures”.
In his rapid response “RE: Politics vs. Science”, 5 September 2003, he wrote: “They do not claim that they are ignorant of virology and ask virologists to explain how it is, exactly, that we study viruses using molecular biological techniques”.
In his rapid response “Re: Re: Basic requests which remain unanswered by Brian Foley and Christopher Noble”, 23 March 2004, he wrote: “It is abundantly clear that you do not understand molecular biology, and therefor you cannot understand what an infectious molecular clone of HIV-1 or any other virus is. Could you please stop repeating yourself, and tell me which concepts of cloning and sequencing genes (including the genes of HIV-1) you fail to understand?”
Yet when we asked our second question: Would please Brian Foley tell us what does he mean by “infectious molecular clone” of “HIV”? Brian Foley wrote: “The Perth group should not concern themselves with what I or any other individual would consider to be an adequate definition of an infectious molecular clone. I am not the world’s leading authority on this topic.”
We are amazed at such a statement in the light of his previous rapid responses, some of which we have cited. If he bases his arguments on “infectious molecular clones of HIV”, then he is obliged to define what they are. So we repeat our question:
Would please Brian Foley tell us what does he mean by “infectious molecular clone” of “HIV”?
Competing interests: None declared