Q. Most biologists believe that immune system’s defense against infections largely rests on its ability to distinguish self molecules from nonself molecules. This concept seems central to our understanding of immune function. However, like all scientific ideas, it is not beyond question. Some immunologists have developed an alternative hypothesis: that the immune system’s effectiveness rests mostly on its ability to recognize damage to the body tissues caused by the invaders, not on the ability to recognize nonself. If you were going to test the “damage” hypothesis what might you look for? Which sort of cell would you expect to be directly affected by damaged tissues? Why? Some proponents argue that the “damage” hypothesis makes more sense from an evolutionary perspective, claiming that it is more advantageous for an organism’s defense system to respond to tissue damage than to the mere presence of a foreign microbe. Do you be in agreement? Why or why not?