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Immune System Affected By Genetics And Environmental Factors

Update Date: Jan 07, 2017 10:05 AM EST
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Immunity Is Affected By Genetics And Environmental Factors
Genetics and environmental factors shapes a person's immune system. (Photo : Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

A recent study claims that genetics and environmental factors play significant roles in a person's immune system. This means that a person's immunity response to pathogens like chickenpox is influenced by the person's genes. Environmental factors such as diet also affect the acquired immunity of a person.

With help from TwinsUK, the study was able to analyze 23,000 immune traits in 497 adult female twins. The researchers found out that the adaptive immune traits, the developed response of the body when exposed to sickness, is influenced by a person's genes. This means that the adaptive immune traits of a person are unique.

On the other hand, the study, published in Nature Communications, also emphasizes the role of the environment in shaping a person's immunity. Environmental factors like diet, residence, etc. affect and influence a person's innate immunity. Innate immunity is the basic immunity a person develops from childhood to adulthood.

Data from the study shows that about 76% of the immune traits are predominantly hereditary while 24% of the traits are influenced by environmental factors. It also categorized that adaptive immune traits are more likely to be influenced by genetics while innate immune traits are more susceptible to environmental influences.

According to the researchers from King's College London, the findings of the study would add to the growing evidence of the role of genetics in a person's immunity. It would also help to understand the significant role of environmental factors in the develop of the immune system.

The results of the study also show that immune responses are genetic, individualized, and finely tuned. This means that every person would react differently when exposed to the same infection or allergen. This implication means that treatment of illnesses like the autoimmune disease would be specifically tailored based on the person's immune system.

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