Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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HLA Complex

Human leukocyte antigen complex; six highly polymorphic loci with over 90 alleles, located on human autosome 6p; the loci are closely linked such that persons have a haplotype for cell surface proteins that are important in immune system response (see linkage disequilibrium). These genes are in synteny with other species and molecularly highly conserved; the homologue in other species is called the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). The MHC/HLA complex controls cell surface identification determinants and mediates cell surface recognition. The HLA system is thus critical to matching donors and recipients of transplanted tissues, who are said to be tissue-typed when an HLA haplotype is characterized.

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