Molecular evolution of the vertebrate immune system, from the lab to natural populations

Driven by co-evolution with pathogens, hosts adapt molecular mechanisms of their immune defence to fit specific environmental conditions and deal with their phylogenetic constraints. Recent methodological advances have allowed us to appreciate and explore the enormous diversity of immune defence strategies in natural animal populations. However, in order to formulate sensible questions on the ultimate evolutionary reasons for the observed variation, we essentially need to better understand the underlying interspecific immunological differences. Therefore, at this ESEB 2021 Online Satellite Symposium we wish to discuss the present advances in approaches to investigate molecular evolution in the vertebrate immune system – from pathogen detection to immune defence regulation and pathogen clearance. Beyond reviewing the state-of the-art in the field of evolutionary and ecological immunology (eco-immunology), our aim is to highlight the shifts in major research topics and based on a collective discussion identify the main challenges of its further development. The list of invited speakers is available here.

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