Re: trichotomy revisited -- NEW INFO

John Wilkins (
Tue, 20 Dec 1994 13:11:29 +1000

I haven't been following this very closely, so I may be about to commit a
non sequitur:

In article <>, (Phillip Bigelow) wrote:

: (Kathleen Hunt) writes:
: >**ALL** Old World monkeys, apes AND HUMANS, and in cats. The point of
: >*that* paper was that cats acquired a virogene from primates.
: >Interesting, but irrelevant to the discussion here.
: >Kathleen Hunt
: Actually, it may be very relevant. Of all of the cat species tested for
: the virus (and there were many, see the above-quoted article), the common,
: everyday housecat had the greatest expression of the gene (homology) of all
: of the cat species. The housecat was much moreso than _all_ of the wild
: African cat species. Why would a domesticated animal show the greatest
: degree of exposure to the baboon -C virus? Could it be that the
: domesticated housecat caught it from humans, at a time when humans were more
: virulent? And if the common everyday housecat has the stongest expression
: of this virus of all the cats, why wouldn't humans be exposed as well?

Ummm, as I understand it, jungle cats were domesticated less than 10,000
years ago, at which time we have clear evidence of human dispersal over
most of the globe, including the non-cat-domesticating areas such as South
America. So, if the baboon -C gene is widely dispersed, then it is not
likely that cats caught it at the time when humans were most virulent
vectors of the gene, since one would assume that virulence would attenuate
fairly rapidly, geologically speaking.

Have I missed something here?

: These are questions that Benveniste and Todaro didn't address nor answer in
: their research. I think the "housecat problem" has the potential to sink
: the whole geographical isolation-theory. Both Benveniste and Todaro's, as
: well as Ms. Morgan's.
: <pb>

John Wilkins, Head of Communication Services, Walter and Eliza Hall
Institute of Medical Research, Victoria 3050 Australia
Tel: (+61 3) 345 2421, internet:
====>There is no necessary correlation between my views and WEHI's<====