Three mysteries - Three mysteries The recognition that our...

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Three mysteries The recognition that our immune systems are capable of producing -- precisely when needed -- highly specific antibodies against an immense number of bacterial and viral antigens led to three profound mysteries: (1) How does the body realize exactly which antibody genes need to be activated to fight a specific infection so that it can produce just the right antibodies? (2) How does our DNA store the immense amount of information necessary to encode specific antibodies against all the foreign invaders that we may encounter? This mystery is compounded by seemingly conflicting estimates that a mouse has no more than 100,000 genes but can make more than a million different antibodies, each of which would seem to require its own gene. (3) How can the progressive increase in antibody affinity during an immune response be explained? 3.1 Answer #1: Clonal Selection An answer to the first question was suggested by MacFarlane Burnet in a hypothesis known as the "clonal selection theory." (See Figure 1.) According to this model, each of the millions of B
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This note was uploaded on 11/14/2011 for the course BIO BSC1010 taught by Professor Gwenhauner during the Fall '10 term at Broward College.

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Three mysteries - Three mysteries The recognition that our...

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