Ecological and evolutionary implications of specific immune responses

Ben M. Sadd and Paul Schmid-Hempel

in Insect Infection and Immunity

Published in print June 2009 | ISBN: 9780199551354
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191720505 | DOI:
Ecological and evolutionary implications of specific immune responses

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This chapter approaches the question of immune specificity from an evolutionary ecology perspective. For the sake of clarity, immune specificity is addressed on two levels. First, immune specificity is considered in the light of evidence for specific interactions between hosts and parasites. The importance of these specific interactions for questions concerning genetic diversity is then discussed. The second level on which immune specificity is addressed in the context of immune priming. It must be stressed that these two phenomena are almost certainly not mutually exclusive. For instance, the level of primed defences may be constrained by the innate defence capacity of an individual. Consequently, immune priming may play a role in the formation of specific interactions between hosts and parasites when re-infections are persistent or infections are chronic. Prior to concluding, the chapter considers sociality, and in particular immune defence within social insects.

Keywords: insect immunity; immune response; social insects; immune specificty; evolutionary ecology

Chapter.  9677 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Evolutionary Biology

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