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Immunity in insects has traditionally been thought of as a bit dull since they lack the adaptive immune response. Despite this apparent handicap insects are able to do surprisingly complex tasks that are similar to those produced by adaptive immune responses in vertebrates, including immune memory and specificity of resistance. Here I discuss how comparative genomics and experimental transcriptomics have shed light on the mechanisms behind these processes in a model of ecological immunology, the bumblebee Bombus terrestris.
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