Your body is under attack!
All around you are invaders - or germs - that cause disease: bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites are in the air we breathe, the food we eat and on the surfaces we touch.
In response your body has developed an immune system, an army of specialist cells equipped with high-tech weapons - antibodies - which stick to invaders so they are unable to hurt you.
You can produce 10 billion different antibodies, each one recognises a different invader.How are antibodies made?
The generation of antibodies begins before you are born and continues throughout your life.
Antibodies are 'Y' shaped proteins. The top of the 'Y' is the 'variable' region - a 'sticky' part of the antibody which is able to recognise invaders based on their shape. But, because each invader is a different shape, the variable region of each antibody needs to be different to match the invader.
How do we make so many different antibodies? The variable region of each antibody is made up of building blocks called V, D and J genes. There are lots of V, D and J genes and by putting them together many times we can make antibodies that will stick to any of the germs we might meet.
Our immune system has a special way of shuffling the V, D and J genes called V(D)J recombination.Can you assemble your defences in time?
Take on the job of the immune system
Can you complete the V(D)J puzzle one piece at a time to make the variable region of the antibody?
See how many different antibodies you can build in 60 seconds!