Viruses do not have polythetic properties; species are polythetic classes and do not have any properties
It is an honor, a privilege, and a great pleasure to be here and to participate in this tribute to Marc Van Regenmortel. As I began to organize this presentation, I realized even more how old I am. Getting old is the opposite of not getting old, but I do not particularly care for either of them. However, getting old has advantages over not getting old. For example, in 1954, as an undergraduate student, I took a class in genetics and was told that humans had 48 chromosomes. We were instructed to prepare smears of our own buccal mucosal cells, photograph dividing cells, and cut out and count the chromosomes. I was a bit nervous, concerned that I might have the same number of chromosomes as a butterfly or a dog but I counted 23 pairs. The post-doc teaching the course told me to repeat the exercise, which I did, and when I again could see only 23 pairs, he told me I might consider transferring to a less precise specialty, such as repairing automobile engines. Remarkably, the next year,...
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