Like fingerprints, immune systems vary from person to person. And although we all inherit a unique set of genes that help us respond to infections, recent studies have found that our history and environment—like where and with whom we live—are responsible for 60% to 80% of the differences between individual immune systems, while genetics account for the rest. In a Review published September 29 in Trends in Immunology, three immunologists discuss the emerging science of what shapes our immune systems and how it might be applied.

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