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Summary:  The central question of how the immune system responds in a qualitatively and quantitatively better way upon re-exposure to a pathogen is largely unanswered. Both the increased frequency of antigen-specific memory cells and the intrinsic properties that memory cells acquire after antigen experience could contribute to the faster and more robust responses seen after repeated exposure to antigen. In the case of the memory B-cell response, it has been difficult to discern the individual contributions of these two effects. However, because of recent advances in identifying memory B cells, there is an increasing understanding of the intrinsic properties of these cells. The current insights into the unique properties of memory B cells and the progress that has been made in understanding how these affect secondary responses in both the human and the mouse systems are discussed. In addition, we compare the various advantages and disadvantages inherent in each of these systems, in terms of studying the intrinsic properties of memory B cells, and introduce the details of the system that we have developed using conventional heavy chain transgenic (Tgic) mice, which addresses some of the drawbacks of traditional memory models.