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Annu Rev Anim Biosci. 2020 Feb 15;8:145-169. doi: 10.1146/annurev-animal-021419-083720. Epub 2019 Dec 17.

The Immunoglobulins: New Insights, Implications, and Applications.

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Shandong Provincial Key Laboratory of Animal Biotechnology and Disease Control and Prevention, College of Animal Science and Veterinary Medicine, Shandong Agricultural University, Tai'an 271018, Shandong, People's Republic of China; email:
Henan Engineering Laboratory for Mammary Bioreactor, School of Life Sciences, Henan University, Kaifeng 475004, Henan, People's Republic of China; email:
Division of Clinical Immunology and Transfusion Medicine, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Karolinska Institutet at Karolinska Hospital Huddinge, Karolinska University Hospital Huddinge, SE-141 86 Stockholm, Sweden; email:
State Key Laboratory of Agrobiotechnology, College of Biological Sciences, National Engineering Laboratory for Animal Breeding, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, People's Republic of China; email:


Immunoglobulins (Igs), as one of the hallmarks of adaptive immunity, first arose approximately 500 million years ago with the emergence of jawed vertebrates. Two events stand out in the evolutionary history of Igs from cartilaginous fish to mammals: (a) the diversification of Ig heavy chain (IgH) genes, resulting in Ig isotypes or subclasses associated with novel functions, and (b) the diversification of genetic and structural strategies, leading to the creation of the antibody repertoire we know today. This review first gives an overview of the IgH isotypes identified in jawed vertebrates to date and then highlights the implications or applications of five new recent discoveries arising from comparative studies of Igs derived from different vertebrate species.


IgD; IgM; IgY(ΔFc); heavy chain–only antibody; immunoglobulin heavy chain; ultralong CDR3 H3

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