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Enhanced immunological surveillance in mice heterozygous at the H-2 gene complex


THE major histocompatibility (H) antigens of higher animals show extreme genetic polymorphism equalled, in higher vertebrates, only by that associated with the immunoglobulins1. Maintenance of such a high rate of variability implies evolutionary advantage for heterozygotes in the HL-A system for man, or at the H-2 gene complex in mice2,3. We propose a possible selective mechanism, based on the realisation that immunological surveillance function (defined here as recognition and elimination of modified host cells by sensitised thymus-derived lymphocytes (T-cells) may be considerably enhanced in mice heterozygous at the H-2 gene complex.

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DOHERTY, P., ZINKERNAGEL, R. Enhanced immunological surveillance in mice heterozygous at the H-2 gene complex. Nature 256, 50–52 (1975).

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