More on Nicholas Bennett's "HIV" infectious molecular clone 28 September 2004
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Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos,
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: More on Nicholas Bennett's "HIV" infectious molecular clone

More on Nicholas Bennett's "HIV" infectious molecular clone

In his rapid response, "Re: Five questions to Nicholas Bennett", Nicholas Bennett wrote: "If the Perth Group want a likelihood-based response to their questions it would be: Yes, no, no, no, no."

If Nicholas Bennett’s answers to four of our questions is "no", then how does Nicholas Bennett explain the existence of transposition, retroposition and transfection? What relevant properties do the exogenous retroviruses have which are lacking in endogenous viruses? What specific properties does the "HIV" RNA have which cannot be found in the RNA of endogenous retroviruses or in the cellular RNA? Why should one accept the proviral theory of retroviruses but exclude similar cellular phenomena?

Nicholas Bennett wrote: "One of the intellectual attractions of retroviruses, to me, was that they were able to do all of this and produce an RNA/lipid/protein structure that could do it all again. And all with only 9 genes…"

Would Nicholas Bennett please give us one major study and a few confirmatory studies showing that the introduction of the "HIV" RNA into a cell leads to the production of "an RNA/lipid/protein structure" (?viral particle). That is, would Nicholas Bennett please provide evidence for the existence of an "HIV-1 infectious molecular clone" as defined by Brian Foley (not by us): "The clone must produce virus particles that are identical by serology, morphology, protein sequences, RFLP, Southern blotting, etc., to the parental virus, and the particles must also be infectious. If a cloned viral genome does not meet these criteria, it is not an INFECTIOUS molecular clone of the virus, be it HIV-1 or any other virus" (Brian Foley’s emphasis).

Competing interests: None declared