Genetically Guinea Pigs And The Immune System

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One of the most important response systems we have as animals is that of our immune system and its response to invading pathogens, antigens, and it’s rejection of foreign material. The details behind the functioning of this response went largely overlooked from a genetic perspective primarily until the early 1970’s however. Baruj Benacerraf with his collaborators Jean Dausset and George Davis Snell explored just this, publishing a series of findings that lead to the “…discovery of the major histocompatibility complex genes which encode cell surface protein molecules important for the immune system 's distinction between self and non-self” ("Baruj Benacerraf - Biographical") which eventually lead to their winning and sharing of the Nobel Peace prize in Physiology or Medicine. Early that decade he and Hugh O. McDevitt published an article on the Histocompatibility-Linked Immune Response Genes. Working from the discovery of autosomal genes correlating to antibody synthesis with dominant phenotypes of capable of producing the responding antibodies to an antigen and responses to “non-self” cells such as grafts, their studies explored injecting guinea pigs with a variety of antigens to identify distinct immune response genes. To clarify, The American Heritage® Science Dictionary defines histocompatibility as “A state or condition in which the absence of immunological interference permits the grafting of tissue or the transfusion of blood without rejection”. Thusly this
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