Evolutions of the Immune System
Determining the relative importance of the elements of the immune sytem is a major task to which comparative studies may help first in pointing to key elements and second in suggesting their phylogenetic origin. These comparative analyses are complicated by many difficulties due to the following facts. 1) The immune system coevolved with the other physiological systems of the organism and its evolution should not be considered as the evolution of a single independent entity. 2) With respect to the history of the system one has a very incomplete and perhaps misleading view of the phylogeny of the Animal Kingdom. 3) The immune system with what we know of its genetic multiplicity is going to be a complex evolving unit with probably an enormous amount of flexibility enabling some of its elements to evolve in a few generations perhaps as fast as in the history of the species, not to mention its somatic evolution during ontogeny.
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