Polley, Margaret J. Formerly, Department of Medicine, Cornell Medical Center, New York, New York.
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An immunologically active protein or polysaccharide present in some but not all individuals in a particular species. These substances initiate the formation of antibodies when introduced into other individuals of the species that genetically lack the isoantigen. Like all antigens, they are also active in stimulating antibody production in heterologous species. The ABO, MN, and Rh blood factors in humans constitute important examples; thus, elaborate precautions for typing are required in blood transfusions. See also: Blood groups
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