Somatic generation of antibody diversity

Nature. 1983 Apr 14;302(5909):575-81. doi: 10.1038/302575a0.


In the genome of a germ-line cell, the genetic information for an immunoglobulin polypeptide chain is contained in multiple gene segments scattered along a chromosome. During the development of bone marrow-derived lymphocytes, these gene segments are assembled by recombination which leads to the formation of a complete gene. In addition, mutations are somatically introduced at a high rate into the amino-terminal region. Both somatic recombination and mutation contribute greatly to an increase in the diversity of antibody synthesized by a single organism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies / genetics*
  • Base Composition
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • Genes*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulins / genetics
  • Mutation*


  • Antibodies
  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • Immunoglobulins