Monday, January 19, 2015

evolution of allergy

In December, I attended the Cell Symposium on type 2 immunity (i.e. our adaptive immune system as opposed to innate defence mechanims) and learned a lot about the big two questions in the field of allergy, namely why did allergies evolve, and why are they becoming more prevalent in industrialised societies?

It's been a steep learning curve not helped by immunologists' habit of speaking in acronyms, but I believe I discovered some meaningful connections to evolution and ecology - it's really all about snakes and parasitic worms. So I wrote a feature summarising what I think I understood, which is out today:

Why did evolution give us allergies?
Current Biology Volume 25, Issue 2, pR53–R55, 19 January 2015

Open access

The Cell Symposium in session (this was a reception in the town hall though, not part of the scientific programme). Own photo.

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