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From lymphocytes to sharks: V(D)J recombinase moves to the germline

David B Roth

Author Affiliations

Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Department of Immunology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas 77030, USA

Genome Biology 2000, 1:reviews1014-reviews1014.4  doi:10.1186/gb-2000-1-2-reviews1014

Published: 2 August 2000


The antigen-receptor genes of vertebrates are rearranged by a specialized somatic recombination mechanism in developing lymphocytes - and, unexpectedly, also in the germline of cartilaginous fishes. The recombination system that carries out these DNA rearrangements may thus be a significant evolutionary force, perhaps not limited to rearrangements at antigen-receptor loci.