*sigh* So lets hear it, Behe, what's your excuse for missing this? Go ahead—run off to PubMed and find a paper to pubjack. I'm not going anywhere.I sincerely hoped Mr. Behe wouldnt stoop to the level of a low-life-YEC or a two-bit-online-hack... but alas... the Creationist within him is stronger than the 'biochemist.'
So whos the author of the
Butler at al (HIV Genetic Diversity: Biological and Public Health Consequences, Current HIV Research, 2007, 23-45) remark under the subheading “Biological Consquences of HIV Diversity”:
With such breadth of genetic diversity among HIVs, one might expect significant biological differences between the clades. Although interesting variations can be seen, much of the data concerning biological implications of HIV diversity is contradictory.
Plenty of differences do exist, and some are “interesting”, but not all that great.
Hmmm. Now that statement looks funny. I mean it lacks the tell-tale "..." that usually mark Creationist quote-mines, but something just looks fishy about Behes choice of quote. Hmmm. Wonder what comes right after the portion Behe chose to quote?
The long terminal repeat region (LTR) of the HIV genome regulates transcription and viral replication, acting as a promoter responsive to the viral Tat protein. Although all subtypes share the same LTR function, they differ with respect to LTR sequence structure, basal activity and response to cytokines and transcription factors . The majority of HIV-1 group M subtypes contain two nuclear factor binding sites (NF-kB). A minority of subtype C contain an extra NF-kB that may promote replication in the presence of TNF-and chronic immune activation . CRF01_AE, in contrast, has one NF-kB site, but contains a different transcription factor binding site that may allow it to replicate in a wide variety of cells. Indeed, when compared with other subtypes, CRF01_AE encodes a highly potent LTR region [2, 135, 257]. Although there are clear differences in LTR sequences and basal replication capacity among subtypes, the influence of these molecular level changes on specific subtype epidemics and the global spread of the virus remain uncertain.You know, that kinda looks like my essay, except looking at LTRs instead of Vpu. And they dont stop with one example! They go on to describe several more genetic differences between HIV-1 subtypes and what researchers think those differences mean biochemically... but like a true Creationist, Behe ignores all of that information and attaches his suckers to the fact that the authors admit "We dont know everything." They lament the fact that our understanding of how these biochemical differences translate into the real world is lacking. Sometimes we think a difference means one thing, sometimes we think it means something else. And Behe uses that honesty to imply the authors agree with him-- HIV hasnt evolved.
But the authors of this paper in no way support Behes bizarre claims about HIV-1 evolution (or lack thereof).
And wouldnt you know it, but what this paper is talking about is exactly what I research every day. I see changes in a very small region of env between subtypes, and over the course of time in the same patients. Im already know the biochemical effects of these changes-- Im trying to figure out the physiological and epidemiological impact of the changes. Im hoping that I can figure out a genetic determinate of transmission, narrowing down the epitopes a potential vaccine would need to contain. Everybody is trying to figure this kind of thing out now in the HIV research world.
If Michael 'LiLo' Behe is right, we are all wasting our time. Micheal Behe, the world-wide expert on HIV evolution, who 'refutes' a short essay containing a dozen primary research articles from a first year grad student, with a quote mine from a review*.
Im going to have to take a play from the Masked Mans book, Mr. Behe, and suggest that if you are going to write chapters on what HIV-1 can and cannot do, you get a little more familiar with the literature. Until then, Mr. Behe, I think you need to focus on reading and comprehending review articles. Then, you can graduate to reading big-boy articles-- primary literature with 'immunoprecipitations' and 'Western blots.' Once youve mastered those, come to the grown-ups table, and we can talk about HIV.
* Certainly Dr. Apetreis review is excellent, but clearly not sharp enough to get through the thick skull of a Creationist.