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Wild Scottish sheep could help explain differences in immunity
Date:10/28/2010

level, but they're not representative of natural conditions and may bias our understanding of immune functions."

The study also touches on autoimmunity, when the body exhibits such a strong immune response that it attacks its own tissues. The study suggests that autoimmunity, seen in such human diseases as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, might also occur in the wild. This aspect of the study needs to be further explored, Graham said.

The study is significant, according to Andrew Read, a professor of biology and entomology, also at Penn State, because it shows that immunity can both increase and decrease evolutionary success, depending on the circumstances. "This is a really excellent example of the power of long-term ecological studies," said Read, an expert in the evolutionary genetics of infectious disease.


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Contact: Kitta MacPherson
kittamac@princeton.edu
609-258-5729
Princeton University
Source:Eurekalert  

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Wild Scottish sheep could help explain differences in immunity
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