Study: Environment trumps genetics in shaping immune system

Global News

WASHINGTON – How your immune system does its job seems to depend more on your environment and the germs you encounter than on your genes, says new research that put twins to the test to find out.

After all, the immune system adapts throughout life to fight disease, said Stanford University immunologist Mark Davis, who led the work.

And while young children’s immunity may be more influenced by what they inherit from mom and dad, Thursday’s study showed genetic influences waned in adulthood.

“Experience counts more and more as you get older,” said Davis, director of Stanford’s Institute for Immunity, Transplantation and Infection.

READ MORE: Can a U.S. company own your genes? Patenting DNA is at the centre of US law controversy

Scientists know there is tremendous variation in how the immune systems of healthy people function. Davis asked if that’s more a matter of nature or nurture, by comparing…

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