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Peter Alfred Gorer

(1907—1961) immunologist and geneticist


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(1907–1961) British immunologist Gorer, the son of a wealthy Londoner who died on the Lusitania, was educated at Guy's Hospital, London, graduating in 1929. Ater studying genetics under J. B. S. Haldane at University College, London from 1933 to 1934 Gorer worked at the Lister Institute until 1940 when he returned to Guy's as morbid histologist and hemotologist. In 1948 he became reader in experimental pathology.

As early as 1936 Gorer tried to see if red cells of mice could be divided into antigenic groups similar to the blood groups of humans. Using his own blood serum he distinguished three kinds of mouse red cell on the basis of their ability to agglutinate his serum. He further found that such a property was inherited by the mice in a Mendelian dominant manner. Such work was supported by comparable results obtained in 1937 with the transplantation of a spontaneously appearing tumor among the various distinguished genetic strains of mice.

Gorer had in fact discovered the histocompatibility antigens and established their control at the genetic level, an outstanding result little appreciated in his lifetime but later to be recognized as of fundamental importance in immunology, genetics, and transplantation surgery. One who did recognize the significance of Gorer's work was George Snell who worked with him in 1948. For his later work Snell was to receive the 1980 Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine, a prize Gorer would have undoubtedly shared with him if he had not died some 19 years before from lung cancer.

From A Dictionary of Scientists in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Science and Mathematics.


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