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      Origin and evolution of the adaptive immune system: genetic events and selective pressures.

        1 ,
      Nature reviews. Genetics
      Springer Science and Business Media LLC

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          Abstract

          The adaptive immune system (AIS) in mammals, which is centred on lymphocytes bearing antigen receptors that are generated by somatic recombination, arose approximately 500 million years ago in jawed fish. This intricate defence system consists of many molecules, mechanisms and tissues that are not present in jawless vertebrates. Two macroevolutionary events are believed to have contributed to the genesis of the AIS: the emergence of the recombination-activating gene (RAG) transposon, and two rounds of whole-genome duplication. It has recently been discovered that a non-RAG-based AIS with similarities to the jawed vertebrate AIS - including two lymphoid cell lineages - arose in jawless fish by convergent evolution. We offer insights into the latest advances in this field and speculate on the selective pressures that led to the emergence and maintenance of the AIS.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Nat Rev Genet
          Nature reviews. Genetics
          Springer Science and Business Media LLC
          1471-0064
          1471-0056
          Jan 2010
          : 11
          : 1
          Affiliations
          [1 ] Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Maryland at Baltimore, Baltimore, Maryland 21201, USA. mflajnik@som.umaryland.edu
          Article
          nrg2703 NIHMS492003
          10.1038/nrg2703
          3805090
          19997068
          27fd7a0e-b7fd-4204-881c-0de8e79baaf8

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