Specific Receptors in Relation to the Evolution of Immunity

  • Henry R. Hilgard
  • Robert H. Wander
  • William E. Hinds


The principal concepts of immunology, developed during the past hundred years, have their origins in experimental studies carried out mostly in the warmblooded vertebrates. Hence, when one searches broadly among the phyla for the evolutionary origins of immunity, one naturally tends to search for an immune system which has the characteristics of the familiar vertebrate immune system. These characteristics are recognition of nonself, specificity, and memory (alteration of response due to prior contact with antigen). In our view, all metazoan immune systems are characterized at least by specificity and by recognition of nonself. Although there is increasing evidence that cellular immune memory does occur in some annelids (Cooper, 1969; Chateaureynaud-Duprat, 1970) and in some echinoderms (Hildemann and Dix, 1972), the lower metazoans in general seem to lack memory (Good and Papermaster, 1964; Teague and Friou, 1964; Chadwick, 1967; Cushing, 1967; Feng, 1967).


Human Serum Albumin Label Amino Acid Immune Memory Bovine Serum Albu Unlabeled Protein 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henry R. Hilgard
    • 1
  • Robert H. Wander
    • 1
  • William E. Hinds
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Natural SciencesUniversity of CaliforniaSanta CruzUSA

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