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Abstract  The human major histocompatibility complex (MHC), also designated the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) system, was initially characterized using maternal antisera that identified paternal transplantation antigens expressed in the offspring. HLA typing was originally developed to facilitate organ and tissue transplantation, particularly renal transplantation. The discovery that the ability of mice to make an immune response to synthetic polypeptides was linked to the murine MHC, designated H-2,1 and the earlier demonstration that susceptibility to Gross-virus-induced leukemogenesis was also linked to H-2,2 stimulated a search for direct or indirect effects of MHC genes on susceptibility to many different diseases.

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