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  In> infectious diseases during the four years of the study.  The
  In> problem is that you don't believe them.  I do.  They report here
  In> nothing out of the ordinary, and their level of 
  In> documentation for that is fine.
 Their level of documentation is one sentence.  That's not satisfactory
 by any stretch of the imagination.  Their are _comparing_ a control
 group with a study group, therefore they need to relate all relevant
 information about both.  In this case, relevant means diseases and
 treatments.  These authors give no information about the control group,
 except for the one sentence.
  In> That depends on the level you want to look at.  Both HIV and
  In> FIV (and SIV) are typical 9 gene lentiviruses, more similar to
  In> each other in gene organization than are (say) the human 
  In> retroviruses HIV and HTLV-1 are to each other.   FIV and HIV
  In> stare protein homology, and a Mg-dependent RT enzyme (unlike HTLV
  In> and many other retroviruses).  At the level of the sequence,
  In> homology again depends on where you look.  FIV is a typical gag
  In> pol env retrovirus, and in these viruses, the pol genes (coding
  In> for functional enzymes) are best conserved between viruses.  The
  In> FIV RT enzyme gene has about 41 to 45% correspondence to the RT
  In> gene of the HIV.  In addition, FIV and HIV are visually identic-
  In> al-- again not a property shared even by the various human
  In> retroviruses.
 You're going to have to explain what you mean about sharing protein
 homology.  That's too vague.  There's mRNAs, tRNAs, etc etc..
 Everything you've said about FIV above also applies to non-
 pathogenic (non-disease causing) retroviruses:
 1. all of them are gag-pol env
 2. others need the Mg cation  
 3. they all have 9 or 10 kilobases of information
 45% correspondence.  Well there you go, there's no point in comparing
 the two.  FIV isn't a good model for human HIV.
  In> Martinez >>The authors admit that they don't know how long
  In> [FIV] takes to produce death in cats.  As the reader, the only
  In> thing we can assume is, those cats are still alive.<<
  In> Sure they are.  Why not?  The 14 control cats sham treated
  In> with saline were not seen to develop any illnesses during the
  In> study.  By contrast, the 19 experimentally FIV-infected cats
  In> developed (in two cases) lymphoma (causing death)
 "Causing death"?  The paper doesn't say that they died.  You are
 _assuming_ they did, just like you _assume_ the authors conducted their
 experiment properly.  I will remind you that the first death ever to 
 occur in HIV-positive lab chimpanzees only happened a few months
 ago (1996), after more than a decade of experimentation.  I wouldn't
 _assume_ anything.
  In> Actually, if these were HIV infected people with all these
  In> symptoms, their lifestyles and AZT use would be getting blamed by
  In> the skeptics.  And when they got AIDS-associated lymphoma, that
  In> would be blamed on poppers and AZT also.  Or on something else. 
  In> Since human "experiments" of nature cannot ever be well-controll-
  In> ed, you can always find something (some action) to blame any
  In> illness on.
 Likewise with animals, even in the laboratory.  And sometimes, especially
 in the laboratory.
  In> But let's take a look at what we've learned from the cats.
  In> The FIV virus, remember, was originally isolated from a private
  In> colony of pet cats in San Francisco which were dying of immune
  In> failure.  It wasn't just pulled out the blue sky.
 You can pull a retrovirus out of any vertebrate on this planet earth.
 We all have them.