ERV readers will absolutely love this paper.
Okay, we all know ERVs are awesome evidence for evolution and common descent. But, imagine we could do classical ERV research one better. Imagine that we had DNA from one of THE common ancestors of humans and chimpanzees– an ancestor who is the proud owner of a new ERV. Imagine we have its DNA, and the DNA of its parents, and the DNA of their parents. Then imagine we had the DNA of its children, and their children.
Imagine the fun evolutionary research we could do, what we could see, with those kinds of samples! No estimating– literally watching and recording the event happening, in DNA.
From an HIV-1 perspective– Imagine what we could do if we had HIV-1 viruses from The Human who got infected with HIV-1 Group M. We had the same SIVcpz viruses from the primate who infected them. And we have all the grandparent viruses and babby viruses too. No estimations of time-lines based on phylogenetic trees— We would know exactly what happened, while it was happening.
Or, you can think of it *exactly* the same way scientists in HIV vaccine studies
and criminal HIV infection investigations look at the natural history of retroviruses– Person A was HIV-1 negative, negative, negative, negative, and finally positive at a time-point. You could then look at HIV-1 sequences in putative infectors and determine ‘who done it’ and almost exactly when it happened.
That is the incredible study that Pathaks group was able to do at the NCI with XMRV.
We have got a cell line in the lab– 22Rv1. This is a prostate cancer cell line absolutely loaded with XMRV proviruses (>10/cell). The question is, which came first? Did XMRV cause the prostate cancer, and we were just able to detect it in 2006? Or did XMRV come into the picture long after cancer, and is just a laboratory artifact?
Quick summary– XMRV is a laboratory artifact. It didnt exist until 1993-1996, long after a bunch of folks were diagnosed with CFS, including The Reason for the Whittemore Peterson Institute, The Princess Who Cannot be Named, Andrea ‘Fuck all of you and if you don’t stop talking about me Im going to sue all of you for defamation of character. I know who you are . I know where you work . Im really Tired of the crap your writing .’ Whittemore.
Which came first, the tumor or the XMRV?
To create the 22Rv1 cell line, a prostate tumor, CWR22 was implanted into lab mice.
The tumor grew, it was put into another mouse.
The tumor grew, it was put into another mouse.
And so on and so forth until you get a cell line.
Pathaks group looked at DNA of ‘CWR22’ at several passage points.
Though they did not have any DNA from the original tumor, they had DNA from early passages of the tumor in mice, and XMRV was not there. Which came first, the tumor or the XMRV? The tumor.
Ummm… so where did XMRV come from?
Started with a tumor in 1992, no XMRV. No XMRV in the third or seventh passages in mice.
However, in 1996, both 22Rv1 and its cousin cell line, CWR-R1, are loaded with XMRV (an average of 20 and 30 copies/cell, respectively). To add another layer of weirdness– all of the proviruses are identical. That does not happen with retroviruses. Retroviruses dont know the meaning of the word ‘identical’. It couldnt happen.
… But it could happen via ERVs. Everyone knows that retroviruses have obscenely high mutation rates, due to their error-prone reverse transcriptase, and recombination via their diploid genome. But once a retrovirus is in a genome as a provirus, it takes on the mutation rate of its host organism.
Pathaks group screened a whole bunch of mouse lines (something like 89?), and found two defective ERVs that match XMRV almost perfectly (like, 1 nucleotide different) ‘PreXMRV-1’ and ‘PreXMRV-2’. Some mice had PreXMRV-1, and some mice had PreXMRV-2, and some had neither… but the mice where the CWR22 prostate cancer tumor was passaged had both.
They then hypothesized that XMRV is the result of six cross-over events between PreXMRV-1 and Pre-XMRV-2.
When they put their ‘hypothetical XMRV from ERVs’ into a phylogenetic tree with sequences from the 22Rv1 and CWR-R1 cell lines, a handful of ‘XMRV’ plasmids, and the WPIs ‘sequences from patients’, they got a tree that showed everyone was identical to everyone else. A hypothetical recombination between mouse ERVs, and sequences supposedly isolated from patients, and are like, TOTALLY NOT contamination, are identical.
An interesting point of this, is that the WPIs super-awesome-gag primers that apparently no one else can use appropriately ALSO target PreXMRV-1. Their super-awesome-env primers target PreXMRV-2. If you have any contaminating mouse DNA, you might find one/the other/both/neither, depending on the strain of contaminating mouse DNA. If you want to exclude detecting mouse ‘endogenous XMRVs’, you need a forward primer in the ‘PreXMRV-1’ region, and a reverse in the ‘PreXMRV-2’. If your signal is from XMRV, you will have a band of a certain size. If its from contamination, it not be there anymore.
Anyway, this lab determined that XMRV as we know it was created in the lab in 1993-1996.
Incline Village was 1985.
Andrea Whittemore was diagnosed 1990-ish.
Kids have had autism for ages.
Gulf War was in 1990-1992.
Ignoring all the hurdles an accidental virus would have to clear to get from our labs, literally into the general population, and all the hurdles of zoonotic transmission, XMRV cannot be The Cause of the illnesses Judy Mikovits is attributing it to, unless we invoke time travel as a very real possibility.
If time travel has to be a current technology in order for your hypothesis to be true, your hypothesis prolly aint true.
And then theres always the defense: “WULL, IF IT HAPPENED IN 1994 IT COULDA HAPPENED IN 1930 TOO AND IS ALL UP IN OUR VACCINES HOMOLOGOUS RECOMBINALTION TINIKERING R VAXXINES!”
That is as statistically likely as HIV-1 was not a regular zoonotic event, but was created in labs for use as a biological weapon. Or, humans and chimpanzees do not actually share a common ancestor, ERVs are really just identical retroviruses that happened to insert in identical locations in two independent, specially created species.
If you want XMRV to be a real, malicious pathogen, pick your poison: time travel or anti-science.