We are beginning to understand how an animal without an adaptive immune system can still protect itself, Smith said, adding: The sea urchin may use genes that are different from antibodies and possibly even different mechanisms from humans.
Strongylocentrotus purpuratus(Nudibranch, or Spanish Dancer). Credit: Dr. Susan Fuhs in Southern California on SCUBA.
Inside that seemingly docile sea urchin theres a surprisingly active innate immune system, probably utilizing previously unrecognized immune mechanisms, that may also actively function in vertebrates, including humans, according to researchers at George Washington University, in Washington, D.C.
"Discovering this capability goes completely against the long-accepted paradigm that the innate immune system which had evolved over a long period of time was perfect in terms of meeting lower animals needs," L. Courtney Smith, associate professor of Biological Sciences, said. "It was a big surprise, that continues to astound us," she added.
Mayer Resnick | EurekAlert!
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