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Walter Ogston ogston at HOBBES.KZOO.EDU
Wed Aug 30 17:16:27 EST 1995

> In article <199508282152.RAA00170 at hobbes.kzoo.edu>, ogston at HOBBES.KZOO.EDU (Walter Ogston) writes:
> > 
> > Think about this.  How many times have new species been introduced to
> > continents and islands and promptly died out?  This must be the fate of
> > the vast majority of such trials, whether the introduction has been by
> > humans or so-called "natural" processes.  BTW, since when were we not
> > natural?  
> > Contrary to what so many seem to think, the process of introduction,
> > dispersal, death (mostly) and spread (rarely) *is* natural selection.
> > 
> Hi Walter,
> let me see if I have this: do you suggest that cross-species transmission of
> endogenous viruses cant't happen? or probably won't happen? or that it would be
> a good thing if it did happen?
> I suggest that relying on natural processes to always be benign is no
> substitute for vigilant screening of possible contaminants in donor organs.
> Regards, Kevin.
> -- 
> --
>        	==========================================
> 	Kevin W. Ryan
> 	Department of Virology & Molecular Biology
> 	St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
> 	Memphis, Tennessee 38101-0318, U.S.A.
No, what I am saying is that species are exposed to each other's viruses
all the time, and *most* of the time the virus doesn't replicate in the
foreign host.  This event will never get into the newspapers.  Obviously
two other outcomes are possible, one that the virus replicates in the
foreign host and causes mild disease or none at all, two that it
replicates and causes scary disease.  The latter is what gets into the
papers when it does happen, a sort of natural selection applied to
news.  (See Goodenough and Dawkins, Nature 371:23. 1994).  

As for whether natural processes are good or bad, I don't think that is
in the realm of scientific discourse, nature is best accepted as it is.
I don't think my opinion of whether xenotransplantation should be done
or not will add anything to this discussion.  

Hope that clears up what I mean.  
Walter Ogston				ogston at hobbes.kzoo.edu
Department of Biology			Phone: (616)337-7010
Kalamazoo College			Fax:   (616)337-7251
Kalamazoo, MI 49006-3295

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