Molecular Genetic Analysis of HLA Class II Polymorphism
HLA class II genes (termed DR, DQ, DO and DP) encode proteins which are important in generation of the immune response. These proteins are heterodimers, composed of an alpha and a beta chain. Each individual has at least 7 beta genes and 6 alpha genes (some of which are non-functional) clustered together on chromosome 6 (Fig. 1). These genes are highly related to one another. Most of these HLA class II genes are polymorphic, having multiple allelic forms. Thus the number of genes and the large number of alleles make this a complex system to study and provides a good example of the power of molecular genetic techniques.
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