allelic exclusion

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The mechanism by which a diploid cell expresses only one of the alleles of a particular gene, and so synthesizes just one of the possible protein variants. It occurs in certain cells of the immune system. For example, mature B cells belonging to a particular clone all produce identical antibodies, despite the presence in each cell of several genes determining antibody structure. The precise nature of the mechanism is unknown.

Subjects: Biological Sciences.

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