In investigating the immunological reactions of patients who had received
many blood transfusions, Dausset correctly hypothesized that a specific
genetic variation among people accounted for the different levels of
reaction. He eventually demonstrated the existence of a gene complex
that he designated HLA (human leucocyte antigen) and that proved to
be analogous to the H-2 complex in the mouse studied by Snell; both
came to be seen as types of the major histocompatability complex (MHC)
characteristic of all vertebrates.
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