Antibodies bind to antigens on the surface of foreign substances.

dants is called a clone. Thus, the antibody made by one B cell clone differs from that made by any other B cell clone. T cells develop along a slightly different pathway but also contain a unique protein, called the T cell receptor, which is coded for by a gene unique to that T cell clone.

Antibodies are proteins, and like all of the body's proteins, must be encoded by genes. However, the number of distinct antibodies each of us makes (many millions) is vastly greater than the total number of genes in our entire genome (30,000-70,000). How is all this diversity encoded? To understand the answer, it is helpful to look at the structure of an antibody.

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