THE immunoglobulin (Ig) system is a model for studying the expression and organisation of information in a complex gene family. The expression of serologically detected determinants on the variable (V) regions of antibody molecules has been used to 'map' putative V genes. Breeding studies have suggested that V genes segregate in a Mendelian pattern and are linked to structural genes coding for constant regions of the heavy chain (CH) of the molecule1. Linkage analyses, however, have been based on the appearance or lack of appearance of V-region determinants in serum antibodies. The work reported here demonstrates the presence of lymphocytes with the potential to produce antibody with a V-region determinant in strains of mice reported to lack this marker in their serum immunoglobulin. The findings emphasise the necessity for examining cells outside of their natural in vivo environment in order to assess V-gene presence using product expression as a diagnostic marker.
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