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Somatic generation of antibody diversity

Naturevolume 302pages575581 (1983) | Download Citation

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Abstract

In the genome of a germ-line cell, the genetic information for an immunoglobulin polypeptide chain is contained in multiple gene segments scattered along a chromosome. During the development of bone marrow-derived lymphocytes, these gene segments are assembled by recombination which leads to the formation of a complete gene. In addition, mutations are somatically introduced at a high rate into the amino-terminal region. Both somatic recombination and mutation contribute greatly to an increase in the diversity of antibody synthesized by a single organism.

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  1. Center for Cancer Research and Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 02139, USA

    • Susumu Tonegawa

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