26 Oct 2020
Setting it Straight: Of mice, men and women in the deep history of H-2 genetics
Setting it Straight - Issue #30
Written by Nobel Laureate Professor Peter Doherty
Last week, I introduced the subject of graft rejection and the major histocompatibility complex (MHC), called H-2 in the mouse and HLA in humans. The dissection of what the MHC is about in the biological sense reflects the interplay between observational studies of humans and experiments in mice. Both were important but, when it came to illuminating how the HLA and the H-2 genes are involved in viral immunity, the science that led to that breakthrough was based in classical mouse genetics. Telling this tale from more than 45 years back, I need to take those of you who have some biological understanding back to a time that predates recombinant DNA technology, gene sequencing, the polymerase chain reaction, gene-knockouts and gene-insertions, and monoclonal antibodies. These were the days before the molecular science revolution that has so transformed biological research and aspects of health care.