A Deafening Silence 21 July 2004
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Christopher J Noble,
postdoc
Australia

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Re: A Deafening Silence

The Perth Group have previously claimed that in order to prove the existence of HIV it is absolutely necessary to:

Prove that the difference between the RNA obtained from particles originating from different cultures is about the same as the differences between the RNAs of other RNA viruses

The Perth Group have also said:

Man and chimpanzee DNA differ by less than 2% but variation in the composition of the "HIV genome" (derived from analysis of "pieces" measuring 2% to 30% of the presumed total) measures between 3-40%. By comparison, two RNA containing viruses (polio and influenza, the latter after 27 years of dormancy,) vary by less than 1% as do RNA molecules self-assembled in test tubes denied the organising influence of living cells.(155,156)

The reference that they give for the variation of poliovirus and influenza virus is a review by David Steinhauer.

Does the review say that the genomes of different poliovirus isolates differ from each other by less than 1%? No!

Influenza? No!

What does the review say? It is clear from sequencing data now available that despite the presence of some strongly conserved genomic stretches, well over half of the nucleotide positions in many RNA virus genomes can be substituted without loss of virus viability

Yes, in the very reference that the Perth Group cite there is evidence that contradicts their assertions. It is for this reason that the Perth Group are unable to convince more than their close associates that they have a valid argument.

Let's look at the poliovirus example

The article regarding the poliovirus that is cited by the Steinhauer review is by Glyn Stanway from 1984 ( Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1984 March; 81 (5): 1539-1543).

A little bit of literature searching by the Perth Group would have found another article published only months earlier by the same author (Nucleic Acids Res. 1983 August 25; 11 (16): 5629-5643) - "There is 77.4% base-sequence homology and 89.6% predicted amino-acid homology between types 1 and 3"

The deafening silence that is now emanating from the Perth Group can only indicate that they hope that if they ignore the issue people will forget that they:

  1. Invented strawman rules and criteria
  2. Completely misrepresented papers
  3. Refused to accept papers that contradicted their claims
I am giving them another chance to be honest. I will ask them.
  1. Did you invent this criterion? - Prove that the difference between the RNA obtained from particles originating from different cultures is about the same as the differences between the RNAs of other RNA viruses
  2. Did you perhaps misread and misrepresent the Steinhauer review?
  3. Do the genomes of the three Sabin poliovirus strains differ from each other by more than 1%?

Competing interests: None declared