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Most biologists believe that the immunes system's defense against infections largely rests on its ability to distinguish self molecules from non-self...

Most biologists believe that the immunes system’s defense against infections largely rests on its ability to distinguish self molecules from non-self molecules. This concept seems central to our understanding of immune function. Several immunologists have developed an alternative hypothesis: that the immune system’s effectiveness rests mostly on its ability to recognize damage to body tissues caused by the invaders, not on the ability to recognize non-self. If you were going to rest the “damage” hypothesis, what might you look for? Which type of cell would you expect to be directly affected by damaged tissues? Why? Some proponents argue that the “damage” hypothesis makes more sense from an evolutionary perspective, claiming that it is more advantageous for an organism’s defense system to respond to tissue damage than to the mere presence of a foreign microbe. Do you agree? Why or why not?

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