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Darwinism and immunology: from Metchnikoff to Burnet

Nature Immunologyvolume 4pages36 (2003) | Download Citation

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Historical Insight: During those periods when immunology was oriented toward medical or biological subjects, Darwinian concepts predominated. These included Metchnikoff's phagocytic theory and Ehrlich's receptor theory during the early years and Burnet's clonal selection theory after the 1950s. During the immunochemically oriented interim, instruction theories were not so much anti- as a-Darwinian.

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References

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    Metchnikoff's early elaboration was in the context of the phagocyte's contribution to a protective inflammation in Lectures on the Comparative Pathology of Inflammation (Dover reprint, New York, 1968), first published in French in 1892, but he later extended it more broadly as the leading player in defense against all infectious diseases in Immunity in the Infectious Diseases (Johnson reprint, New York, 1968), first published in French in 1901.

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  1. Institute of the History of Medicine, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, 1900 East Monument St., Baltimore, 21205, MD, USA

    • Arthur M. Silverstein

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https://doi.org/10.1038/ni0103-3