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Nat Rev Immunol. 2005 Nov;5(11):866-79.

Reconstructing immune phylogeny: new perspectives.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of South Florida College of Medicine, All Children's Hospital Children's Research Institute, 830 First Street South, Saint Petersburg, Florida 33701, USA.


Numerous studies of the mammalian immune system have begun to uncover profound interrelationships, as well as fundamental differences, between the adaptive and innate systems of immune recognition. Coincident with these investigations, the increasing experimental accessibility of non-mammalian jawed vertebrates, jawless vertebrates, protochordates and invertebrates has provided intriguing new information regarding the likely patterns of emergence of immune-related molecules during metazoan phylogeny, as well as the evolution of alternative mechanisms for receptor diversification. Such findings blur traditional distinctions between adaptive and innate immunity and emphasize that, throughout evolution, the immune system has used a remarkably extensive variety of solutions to meet fundamentally similar requirements for host protection.

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