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Nat Rev Genet. 2001 Apr;2(4):256-67.

The evolution and genetics of innate immunity.

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Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of California, 1 Shields Avenue, Davis, California 95616-8535, USA.


The immune system provides protection from a wide range of pathogens. One component of immunity, the phylogenetically ancient innate immune response, fights infections from the moment of first contact and is the fundamental defensive weapon of multicellular organisms. The Toll family of receptors has a crucial role in immune defence. Studies in fruitflies and in mammals reveal that the defensive strategies of invertebrates and vertebrates are highly conserved at the molecular level, which raises the exciting prospects of an increased understanding of innate immunity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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