Trowsdale, John Human Immunogenetics Laboratory, Imperial Cancer Research Fund, London, United Kingdom.
- HLA and disease
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A term used to describe the genes that influence acceptance or rejection of grafts. When grafts of tissue are exchanged between genetically dissimilar individuals, profound immunological rejection generally takes place. In contrast, grafts between genetically similar individuals, such as identical twins, are normally tolerated; they are histocompatible. Most known examples of histocompatibility (or H) genes encode polymorphic (that is, tending to differ between individuals) cell-surface proteins. The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) contains a set of histocompatibility genes, termed major because mismatching at these genes invokes rapid rejection. Other, minor antigens are revealed after precise matching of the major antigens.
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