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Optimal immune responses : immunocompetence revisited

journal contribution
posted on 01.12.2005, 00:00 authored by M Viney, E Riley, Kate BuchananKate Buchanan
The function of the immune system of an animal is to provide defence against infection, in order to maximize fitness. Understanding this and, particularly, how limiting resources are traded off between costly immune responses and other physiological demands, is central to properly understanding life-history traits and their evolution. Here, we propose that functional (rather than immunological) measures of immune responses should be used when investigating this. We further suggest that optimal immune responses are context specific, rather than generic; that is, a maximum immune response is not necessarily optimal. The nature of an optimal immune response will depend on the specific circumstances and infection status of the animal. Identifying and understanding such optimality requires that the effects of different immune strategies on fitness be considered.

History

Journal

Trends in ecology and evolution

Volume

20

Issue

12

Pagination

665 - 669

Publisher

Elsevier Ltd.

Location

London, England

ISSN

0169-5347

eISSN

1872-8383

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2005, Elsevier Ltd