In humans and wild animal populations, immune responses can vary greatly between individuals, species, and environments -- yet, the vast majority of immunological studies are conducted on well-fed, parasite-free, genetically similar lab mice. Recently, however, ecologists and immunologists have begun to join forces to study the long-suspected variability of immune systems in wild populations."Lab mice live in really happy conditions" compared to animals in the wild, said linkurl:Tom Little,;http://www.biology.ed.ac.uk/research/institutes/evolution/homepage.php?id=tlittle an evolutionary biologist at the University of Edinburgh in the UK, but "we can't just study things under really happy conditions [because] it's just not what's normal...What if everything we know about the immune system only really happened in the lab?"
Indeed, a recent comparison of the immune functions of wild and lab mice revealed that wild mice generally had stronger immune responses than their laboratory counterparts."There's got to be at least 100,000 papers that looked...
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