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Biotech

Genetic HIV Resistance Deciphered 64

hexed_2050 writes "Researchers have pin-pointed the reason why some people have a greater immunity, or in some cases, total immunity to the HIV virus. They credit a genetic defect that can be traced back to Europeans in the middle ages."
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Genetic HIV Resistance Deciphered

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  • Defect? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by AtariAmarok ( 451306 ) on Friday January 07, 2005 @12:18PM (#11288028)
    I'm not sure I'd call such a mutation a "defect".
    • by clonan ( 64380 )
      It is a defect because it makes the immune cell less effective!

      That protein allows immune cells to lock onto each other and help to destroy disease.

      Since these cells lack this mechanism, they don't lock onto other immune cells as well and aren't as good at killing things. This affects EVERYTHING the cell does.

      So while the person is protected against AIDS, they are more suceptible to every single other illness and injury out there.

      It's a trade off...and therefore a defect.
    • Re:Defect? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by St. Arbirix ( 218306 )
      How about sickle-cell anemia?
      It has its problems but it also makes you immune to Tse-Tse flies.

      Our sense of "art" or creativity is supposed to be the result of some mutation a long time ago. It lets us solve some truly incredible problems (esp. when compared to animals) but also opens us up to all sorts of bizarre mental disorders. Defect?
      • It has its problems but it also makes you immune to Tse-Tse flies.

        I thought it made people immune to malaria [wikipedia.org].

        The sufferers of the illness usually die young and yet the disease is not eliminated from the gene pool by natural selection. This is because carriers are relatively resistant to malaria. Carriers of the allele have an unsymptomatic condition called sickle cell trait. Since the gene is incompletely recessive, carriers have a few sickle red blood cells at all times, not enough to cause symptom

    • Re:Defect? (Score:3, Informative)

      I'm not sure I'd call such a mutation a "defect".

      It has been linked to a greater vulnerability [hivandhepatitis.com] to Hepatitis C [wikipedia.org], which there is still no vaccine for.

  • Funny, I remember the BBC running a documentary a couple of years ago where they covered the exact same reasons.
    • Re:BBC documentary (Score:3, Informative)

      by davidyorke ( 543505 )
      I saw a show about this on PBS. It was something like two years ago.

      http://www.pbs.org/wnet/secrets/case_plague/inde x. html

      Here's some other news. George Bush won the election ... against Al Gore.
  • Well.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WhatAmIDoingHere ( 742870 ) * <sexwithanimals@gmail.com> on Friday January 07, 2005 @12:23PM (#11288078) Homepage
    You scratch a living out of the mud and shit and you're going to end up immune to something..

    Kinda like people who work at hospitals, they usually never get sick enough to miss a day of work due to catching a little bit of everything while working.
    • I had the exact opposite experience. I've usually found hospital workers to be among the most prone to catching anything out there.
      • Have you ever worked at a hospital?

        I did, in the kitchen. My mother works in Human Resources. She's only been out sick once, and that was for oral surgery.

        The people who worked in housekeeping, cleaning up the bio waste were the most healthy people, and the only person in the department to call in sick was the manager who had an office and didn't even empty his own trash bin.
  • Future evolution (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lonesome Squash ( 676652 ) on Friday January 07, 2005 @12:26PM (#11288121)
    The number of people who die from AIDS is a very strong selection pressure. Unless the epidemic is halted medically, we can expect that it won't be many generations before these mutations are nearly universal. If they have lingered this long in the population, they can't be strongly deleterious.

    Eventually we will probably be like the chimpanzees, who have a pronounced lack of diversity in the genes for certain immune receptors as well as immunity to AIDS. Scientists view this as evidence [www.exn.ca] that an AIDS-like plague swept through the Chimpanzee population in the not-too-distant past.

    The idea that AIDS will one day burn itself out of the population may not be much comfort to those who have it, nor to those who must grow up in a world where they must face that risk -- especially for those growing up in coutries with 40% infection rates. But I find it comforting, anyway.

    • Carefull Now (Score:3, Insightful)

      by WaZiX ( 766733 )
      These genetics mutations are quite rare (1%) and the delta32 Mutation only protects strains of HIV that use CCR5 proteins to help them break into the cells, so yes a very few people are immune to most strains of HIV. And this is why doctors will prbably never allow people get tested for delta32 mutation.
      • And this is why doctors will prbably never allow people get tested for delta32 mutation.

        The article's opinion that knowledge of reduced susceptibility to HIV might make people take more risks is ridiculous. People take risks, and a person that would take a foolish risk because the misunderstand the data (like a test for delta32) will just find some other data to misinterpret.

        A good doctor will use this test as a valuable tool for examining patients with or at risk for HIV. A reasonable doctor will perform

    • by angel'o'sphere ( 80593 ) on Friday January 07, 2005 @03:51PM (#11290376) Journal

      The number of people who die from AIDS is a very strong selection pressure. Unless the epidemic is halted medically, we can expect that it won't be many generations before these mutations are nearly universal.


      What is many generations in your sense? 10? 100?

      Seriously, you have some simple stuff about how selection works misconcepted.

      No selection when:
      o as long as one who dies on AIDS already has children
      o as long as one who has AIDS fathers or mothers a child
      o as long as one who is not ill and has not the gene gets a child

      A gene can only spread via selecion if all other individuals in a population suffer from not having the gene.

      Currently a minority suffers. Having the gene or not does not influence "breeding" and thus there is no selection happening.

      If at all teh selection is happening in reverse, the virus is adapting itslef to become less letal. Because while one human is dying the virus runs through 1000nds of generations.

      angel'o'sphere
      • What is many generations in your sense? 10? 100?

        Evolutionary subjectives (long, many, short...) are very similar to Geologic subjectives, in that they must be qualified. Given that he was most probably talking about 'not many generations' in an evolutionary sense. So, I'd say you are probably off by a factor of 10. Your question should have read: What is many generations in your sense? 100? 1000?
    • It seems kind of odd that this comes out as if it's recent news. Here is the link [pbs.org] to a PBS transcript which details the findings of the gene which is mentioned in Wired.
  • by skinfitz ( 564041 ) on Friday January 07, 2005 @12:42PM (#11288290) Journal

    Let me guess - the people with the "defect" are all christian nutt..er.. fundamentalists?

    Wonder how long it will be before one of the nutters latches on to this story.

    Wonder how long after that before research is done into the feasibility of using a retro virus to rewrite the DNA of HIV+ people to include the "immune" gene, thus curing them.

    Oh no wait - it's god that makes people infected because they are gay isn't it? Silly old science - how could it possibly be right. Lets burn all the books while we are at it.
    • Slow down. Why would they be Christian? You would think good Christians WOULDN'T evolve defenses like this since they don't go around having unprotected sex with people who have AIDS.
    • What are the fundies going to do now that straight black women are the number one group contracting HIV in the US? OK, I suppose I know what the Southern fundies will do. Anyway, world-wide, straight Africans are the most affected. The whole gay-AIDS thing isn't even a valid data-point any more.
      • Then why does the Red Cross refuse your blood if you are gay?
      • What some of the less nutty, but more moral people are left with is a totally different set of datapoints though. Homosexuality isn't an indicator- but immoral behavior such as multiple sexual partners and drug abuse is, so the smarter fundies will just use it to reduce that behavior.
        • but more moral people are left with is a totally different set of datapoints though. Homosexuality isn't an indicator- but immoral behavior such as multiple sexual partners and drug abuse is, so the smarter fundies will just use it to reduce that behavior.

          While this is true, "moral" is of course relative. A "moral" activity like going to church could easily expose you to infectious agents. When I was in college the *entire* CS department had to be tested for TB because some kid who came down with TB use

          • And what about an indian who after a hard day of running a casino uses payote which is part of his beliefs? is that immoral? :)

            From the fundie point of view of God using Disease to Punish People for Bad Behavior- no, you don't use needles in peyote usage. :-)
      • Continue to pray, I suppose, that HIV may some day actually be treated like an infectious disease rather than a civil rights issue.
    • Re:Let me guess... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by andreMA ( 643885 ) on Friday January 07, 2005 @01:59PM (#11289275)
      I'm not sure the parent is a troll. They're speculating that some group which happens to have this gene will cite this as "proof" that they are "God's chosen". After all, it couldn't have resulted from evolution, in their view.

      The insanity is not the poster, but the hypothetical group he cites. Given that we have fundie nutcases (as opposed to non-fundie ones; there are nutcases enough to go around) claiming that the tsunami was punishment from God, I don't think it's farfetched.

    • Only on Slashdot do we see attacks on Christian fundamentalism in an article about something that might lead to a cure of AIDS.

      I love this place...I guess. It's quite amusing. I'm not sure I'd like it to be.

      As a reasonable response, 1) any so-called Christian who thinks he's part of a "God-selected" group is completely ignorant of the fundamental doctrines of Christ coming for all people. For God so loved the world, not just parts of Northern Europe alone.... 2) anyone who claims AIDS is a "gay disease" i
    • Let me guess - the people with the "defect" are all christian nutt..er.. fundamentalists?
      ... Oh no wait - it's god that makes people infected because they are gay isn't it?
      So, fundie nutsos will be the only one who can enjoy a good buttfuck and live???

      Boy, isn't life a bitch!!!!

      • Well IIRC it says in most flavours of the bible regarding entrance into "heaven" that only men "undefiled by women" may enter.

        Now I don't know about you, but I see a loophole there for gay men...
  • by phreakuencies ( 829080 ) on Friday January 07, 2005 @12:43PM (#11288309) Homepage
    I was thinking in posting this story because the team of researchers were formed by 3 argentinians (I live there) and "study co-author Dr. Sunil K. Ahuja". This isn't mentioned anywhere in the article. In fact, an announcement was made in a local Hospital ("Garrahan") here and presented by different media as a discovery made by this groups of argentinians collaborating with Ahuja. I would really like this post updated with this important info. Links to the local story (in spanish): Clarin newspaper [clarin.com] The names of the three argentinian investigators: "Andrea Mangano, Luisa Sen y Rosa Bologna".

    • Actually the original article in Science is The Influence of CCL3L1 Gene-Containing Segmental Duplications on HIV-1/AIDS Susceptibility

      by Enrique Gonzalez, Hemant Kulkarni, Hector Bolivar, Andrea Mangano, Racquel Sanchez, Gabriel Catano, Robert J. Nibbs, Barry I. Freedman, Marlon P. Quinones, Michael J. Bamshad, Krishna K. Murthy, Brad H. Rovin, William Bradley, Robert A. Clark, Stephanie A. Anderson, Robert J. O'Connell, Brian K. Agan, Seema S. Ahuja, Rosa Bologna, Luisa Sen, Matthew J. Dolan and Sunil K

  • by Ayanami_Rei_II ( 521400 ) on Friday January 07, 2005 @01:21PM (#11288794)
    HIV = Human Immunodeficiency Virus
    PIN = Personal Identification Number

    There's no need to repeat the last word of the the acronym!
    • The ATM I use these days calls it my "Secret number" I guess PIN was too complicated for the proles.
    • Really now, don't be so nit picky. I recall taking a test labeled the CAT, or California Achievment Test in elementary school. If you say "The CAT", people say "what?" But say the "CAT Test", people know what you're talking about. It's not a big deal.

      Furthermore, it sounds better in common speech. Let's talk about the HIV. Let's talk about the HIV virus. Let's talk about HIV. The first one, which fits with your preference, sounds icorrect in commoon speech. The last two, which are not correct under your th
      • Let's talk about the HIV. Let's talk about the HIV virus. Let's talk about HIV.

        Actually, the last form is quite acceptable and sounds natural. The definite article isn't necessary for a virus. Disclaimer--I do research work in a hospital, though I do cancer biology, not HIV. My sense of what sounds normal may be different. :)

        • I'm not so sure.

          First off, the definite article is necessary for a virus. Else we would be talking about virus. Which I think we all can agree is wrong. Virusses are another matter entirely.

          Perhaps you are confused by the fact that HIV is a proper collective noun. Consider another proper collective noun - the Good Old Party. We can talk about the GOP. Or about Good Old parties. But we cannot talk about GOP. We cannot talk about Republican Party, either. So by the ggparent's peave, we should n
          • Well, we do talk about Ebola. Granted, we usually talk about the Ebola virus. (using an article when we use the word virus). HIV is an odd case, because it doesn't have a common name that doesn't include the word virus as part of the name. So, when we use HIV in simplest form, it is HIV. When we use "ebola virus" in simplest form, it is just "ebola." So, there is a logical argument that it could be considered correct to say either "HIV" or "the HIV." Personally, I always talk about HIV, no article.
  • Black plague (Score:3, Interesting)

    by booch ( 4157 ) <slashdot2010NO@SPAMcraigbuchek.com> on Friday January 07, 2005 @02:02PM (#11289304) Homepage
    OK, how can you mention "genetic defect" and "Europeans in the middle ages" without mentioning the bubonic plague and Black Death? It's even in the article. Really, the first question I had when I read the Slashdot blurb was whether they're somehow related. Scientists first thought they might be related, but now think that it was probably something more like smallpox. Anyway, RTFA if this interests you.
  • Sometime back I read an item [abc.net.au] which argued that there is some evidence that the Black Death was not caused by bubonic plague at all but rather by an aids like virus. After I RTFA (in the /. item) it didn't seem to point out this possibility. Have a read of the ABC (Australian) Science article and note the bit about a village in England in the time of the Death, it was sealed off and food was passed in from outside, after some years(?) it was given the all clear. To this day the population has a high count of

  • How long until this is patented and the people with the gene are prosecuted ?
  • From the article:
    Now, it's like a glove where one size fits all," said Dr. Matthew Dolan, an AIDS specialist in the U.S. Air Force and co-author of a new AIDS genetics study in an online edition of the journal Science.
    This is strange...

    Why would the USAF need AIDS specialists????

    • Because someone needs to work with the USAF on how to handle a disease that inevitably people in the USAF get?
    • "Oussama Bin Laden!
      the world needs you more than ever. Get your marbles together, and with a bit of imagination, you can cut the whole oil supply to the United States of America, and either bring those stupid yankees down on their knees, or make them adopt a much less ruinous way of life that is more respectful of the planet.
      Go, Oussama! Go sink those oil tankers plying the sea!
      Go sever that thin lifeline that keeps those stupid yankees alive!
      The planet will be eternally grateful once you bring those fucker

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