Marsupial immune responses were previously touted as ‘primitive’ but we now know that the marsupial immune system is complex and on par with that of eutherian mammals. In this manuscript we review the field of marsupial immunology, focusing on basic anatomy, developmental immunology, immunogenetics and evolution. We concentrate on advances to our understanding of marsupial immune gene architecture, made possible by the recent sequencing of the opossum, tammar wallaby and Tasmanian devil genomes. Characterisation of immune gene sequences now paves the way for the development of immunological assays that will allow us to more accurately study health and disease in marsupials.
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Vol. 61 • No. 1