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A scanning electron microscope (SEM) image of a single human lymphocyte.

The adaptive immune system is made of specialized cells and processes which kill pathogens or prevent their attack.

The adaptive immune system is switched on by the evolutionarily older innate immune system. This older system is non-specific, whereas the adaptive system is tailored to specific targets.

Whereas the innate immune system is found in all metazoa, the adaptive system is only found in vertebrates. It is thought to have arisen in the first jawed vertebrates. view more...