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It Takes a Genome: How a Clash Between Our Genes and Modern Life Is Making Us Sick by Greg Gibson

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HIV Imbalance

The youth of HIV as a human virus may be the greatest source of its threat to our species. Astonishingly, simian forms of the virus, SIV, are widespread in chimpanzees and some other apes, where they cause minimal morbidity. Similarly, the closely related feline immunodeficiency virus, FIV, is common and relatively benign in wild cats such as cheetahs. For some reason, canines are free of such viruses (one is tempted to say, on no grounds other than the pure prejudice of a dog-lover, because of their intelligence).

Tellingly, SIV and FIV both become deadly agents of immune disease the minute they cross into a nonexposed sibling species. Domestic cats that become infected soon succumb to AIDS-like symptoms, indicating that they ...

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