Allotypes Immunoglobulin

Royston Jefferis, Department of Immunology, The Medical School, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK

Allelism is the existence of two or more variants of a given gene in an outbred population. Allelism within the immune system was first recognized for genes encoding immunoglobulin (Ig) molecules, through the antigenic properties of their protein products, i.e. antibody molecules. The extent of allelism at the Ig loci has resulted in the application of Ig phenotyping to paternity testing, forensic science, bone marrow transplantation, etc. Allelism and allo-typy may be evident in its most diverse form within the major histocompatibility loci, where the pheno-type of an individual may constitute immunological self-identity.

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