Genetic Control and Immunity

  • Edna Mozes
  • G. M. Shearer
  • Michael Sela
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 31)


For more than half a century a correlation has been known to exist between the ability to respond to an antigen and the genetic constitution of an individual. In 1916, Cooke and van der Veer provided experimental evidence that inheritance plays a role in some forms of human sensitization, e.g., hay fever, bronchial asthma, gastro-enteritis and urticaria (1). Furthermore, these investigators concluded that this phenomenon is inherited as a dominant characteristic, involving the ability of an individual to form specific antibodies, and is not due to transmission of sensitization from parent to offspring. Thus, the ability of an individual to elicit an immune response to a given immunogen is genetically affected, although the immune state of that individual is not itself an inherited characteristic. Recent analyses of animal and human disease states suggest that genes which control immune responsiveness affect susceptibility or resistance to certain diseases (2). In order to understand these phenomena in humans, experimental models using inbred mice (in which the genetic parameters can be controlled) and synthetic polypeptide antigens (in which the chemical structure can be defined) have been studied.


Genetic Control Spleen Cell High Responder Positive Seron Thymus Cell 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edna Mozes
    • 1
  • G. M. Shearer
    • 1
  • Michael Sela
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Chemical ImmunologyThe Weizmann Institute of ScienceRehovothIsrael

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