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Dev Comp Immunol. 2007;31(5):476-82. Epub 2006 Oct 6.

Why did the acquired immune system of vertebrates evolve?

Author information

1
Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, S10 2TN, Sheffield, UK. jor@sheffield.ac.uk

Abstract

Rapidly expanding genomic information offers important insights into the mechanisms of acquired immunity and has fostered progress in comparative immunology. However, the question of why the acquired immune system, a trait restricted to jawed vertebrates, evolved has rarely been addressed. Here, I will examine three unique features of early vertebrate evolution, during the 50 million years when the acquired immune system evolved: co-evolution with specialised parasites, increased metabolic rates and genomic instability. These combine to shape a powerful multi-level and multi-causal selective scenario that I propose could have moulded the acquired immune system.

PMID:
17055576
DOI:
10.1016/j.dci.2006.08.009
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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