In The Compatibility Gene, Daniel M. Davis takes us through some of the major discoveries that have helped us to understand how our immune system can target invaders while leaving our own cells alone. The way the immune system identifies “self” and “non-self” has important implications for fighting disease, transplant success and other aspects of life including brain function and pregnancy. Davis focusses on the MHC genes–which code for proteins that sit on the surface of our cells and interact with white blood cells–and features the personal stories of some of the scientists who have studied them.
For me, this book was a reminder of some of the stuff I learnt about the immune system as an undergraduate student, but it also took me into new territory, including our emerging understanding of the role of the MHC genes in brain function and pregnancy. I would highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in human biology.
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