Beyond the intellectual interest in function and evolution of invertebrate immune systems, from the practical standpoint there is a clear need to address a variety of problems related to disease prevention and remediation for economically and ecologically important invertebrate species, as well as those that serve as vectors of disease to humans. Marine and freshwater fisheries and aquacultured crustaceans (shrimp, prawn and lobster) and molluscs (oysters, mussels and clams) now constitute significant sources of food, employment and commerce. Despite considerable improvements in the design and implementation of production techniques, the ability to prevent mass mortalities due to viral, bacterial and protozoan epizootics has not made comparable progress; catastrophic losses in productivity are becoming increasingly frequent. There is a continuing need for intense research in this area.

See also: Autoimmune disease, pathogenesis; Cytokines; Endotoxin (lipopolysaccharide (LPS)); Innate immunity; Lectins; Opsonization; Phagocytosis; Phytogeny of the immune response; Prokaryotes, immunity in.

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