We describe the domestication of the species, explore its value to agriculture and bioscience, and compare its immunoglobulin (Ig) genes to those of other vertebrates. For encyclopedic information, we cite earlier reviews and chapters. We provide current gene maps for the heavy and light chain loci and describe their polygeny and polymorphy. B-cell and antibody repertoire development is a major focus, and we present findings that challenge several mouse-centric paradigms. We focus special attention on the role of ileal Peyer's patches, the largest secondary lymphoid tissues in newborn piglets and a feature of all artiodactyls. We believe swine fetal development and early class switch evolved to provide natural secretory IgA antibodies able to prevent translocation of bacteria from the gut while the bacterial PAMPs drive development of adaptive immunity. We discuss the value of using the isolator piglet model to address these issues.


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