From the mid 1960s to the late 1970s, most immunologists espoused either the germline or somatic theory to explain antibody variability. There were, however, a number of investigators who steadfastly maintained that neither theory adequately explained the structural and/or genetic data. Each proposed different solutions that we refer to here as “maverick” because they do not depend on the germline position (for every immunoglobulin V region there resides in the DNA a faithful copy) or the somatic mutation theory (that in the DNA there exists only a very few genes that somatically mutate and give rise to the great variety of antibody molecules). Although each author of a maverick solution depended on different interpretations of much of the data that has been presented so far in this volume, there were six bodies of evidence that the maverick theorists focused on that were difficult to reconcile with either the germline or somatic theories. We will first review these data and then discuss the various alternative theories that were developed that attempted to explain not only these data but also data generally used to support germline or somatic theories.
KeywordsHypervariable Region Amino Acid Sequence Data Somatic Mutation Theory Human Immunoglobulin Heavy Chain Rabbit Allotype
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