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Chicken Molecule May Improve Understanding of Allergic Reactions in Humans

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Chickens may help scientists better understand severe allergic reactions in people and develop new ways to prevent or treat these potentially deadly attacks.

Researchers at King's College London in the U.K. found that chickens have a "fossilized" version of the main molecule responsible for severe allergic reactions in people, BBC News reported.

The IgY molecule in chickens may be an ancient predecessor of a similar human molecule called IgE, which plays a major role in asthma attacks and anaphylactic shock.

By studying IgY, it's possible to track the evolution of allergic reactions back at least 160 million years, said researcher Dr. Alex Taylor, BBC News reported.

The study appears in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

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