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Immune Systems Decline in Old Age

Researchers studying wild Soay sheep on the remote St Kilda archipelago have revealed that the animals' immune responses to parasitic worms decline through adulthood.

Dr Tom McNeilly, of the Moredun Research Institute, said: "With the drive for more efficient farming practices, efforts are being made to extend the productive life-span of livestock species, with means the average age of farmed animals is likely to increase in future. Studies such as these are critical as they provide important information on the likely consequences of farming older animals in terms of their ability to fight infectious diseases."

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