The human immune system may limit future evolution

Scientists from Imperial College London have suggested why the human genome may possess far fewer genes than previously estimated before the human genome project was begun.

Research published in the July issue of Trends in Immunology, shows how a more advanced immune system in humans could explain why the human genome may have only a slightly greater number of genes than the plant Arabidopsis thaliana, and probably less than rice, Oryza sativa.

Dr Andrew George, from Imperial College London and based at the Hammersmith Hospital comments: “Although humans are normally thought to be considerably more complex than organisms, such as plants, rice, yeast and earthworms, this is not reflected in their number of genes, with humans having less genes than other supposedly less complex organisms.”

Dr George suggests that the limited number of functional genes in the human genome may be a result of the presence of a more advanced immune system. The immune system is designed to protect us from disease, but it is important that the cells of the immune system do not recognise our own tissues or cells, as this would lead autoimmune disease.

Autoimmune disease is avoided by killing off any immune cells that recognise molecules produced by the body (self-molecules). This means that the larger the genome, the more self-molecules the immune system needs to tolerate.

As a result, the immune system has to kill more immune cells. If there are too many genes then this results in the vast majority of immune cells dying, paralysing the immune system, and leaving the body unable to fight off disease or infection.

Dr George adds: “The limited size of the human genome could make further evolution for humans difficult. Fortunately, the human genome has been able to create genes which have multiple uses, thus making the best use of a limited number of genes.”

Media Contact

Tony Stephenson alfa

Alle Nachrichten aus der Kategorie: Life Sciences

Articles and reports from the Life Sciences area deal with applied and basic research into modern biology, chemistry and human medicine.

Valuable information can be found on a range of life sciences fields including bacteriology, biochemistry, bionics, bioinformatics, biophysics, biotechnology, genetics, geobotany, human biology, marine biology, microbiology, molecular biology, cellular biology, zoology, bioinorganic chemistry, microchemistry and environmental chemistry.

Zurück zur Startseite

Kommentare (0)

Schreib Kommentar

Neueste Beiträge

Cyanobacteria: Small Candidates …

… as Great Hopes for Medicine and Biotechnology In the coming years, scientists at the Chair of Technical Biochemistry at TU Dresden will work on the genomic investigation of previously…

Do the twist: Making two-dimensional quantum materials using curved surfaces

Scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have discovered a way to control the growth of twisting, microscopic spirals of materials just one atom thick. The continuously twisting stacks of two-dimensional…

Big-hearted corvids

Social life as a driving factor of birds’ generosity. Ravens, crows, magpies and their relatives are known for their exceptional intelligence, which allows them to solve complex problems, use tools…

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close