a story lives forever
Sign in
Form submission failed!

Stay signed in

Recover your password?
Form submission failed!

Web of Stories Ltd would like to keep you informed about our products and services.

Please tick here if you would like us to keep you informed about our products and services.

I have read and accepted the Terms & Conditions.

Please note: Your email and any private information provided at registration will not be passed on to other individuals or organisations without your specific approval.

Video URL

You must be registered to use this feature. Sign in or register.


Organising one of Mendel's anniversary symposia


Becoming excited in the H2 system
Jan Klein Scientist
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments

So back to the H2. I did my work on two levels. One was the somatic level, which was based on the variant selection model. And the other was... I decided to do a straightforward classical Mendelian genetics on the H2 system to look for a recombinance. It looked like it's not a single gene - that it might be multiple genes, or that there was an intragenic recombination in the H2. So I began to look for such recombinants and was getting... I was not the first... there were before Snell and his co-workers, Stimpfling and Gorer, and others, but as you will realize later the recombinants I got were then essential for some of the studies that followed later by myself and by other people. So in terms of the... at the somatic level I... the main result I was getting was that there were many antigens by that time known in the H2 system already. And the question was, was each of these antigens specified by a different gene? Or did some of the genes specify multiple antigens? And so I was taking one of these antigens after the other and asking can I delete one of these antigens without affecting the others? Which would indicate that it's separate... on a separate molecule and perhaps a separate gene. Or if I delete one will the others go with it? I don't want to go into any details... the end result was that some of the... most of the antigens you could not delete alone, but some of them you could delete together while others would remain. The... basically it appeared that there were two regions in the H2 genetic segment. One so-called K and the other D, they were just called by the antigens, and that you can delete them separately. The K with all the whole entourage of other antigens you can delete as a single unit while the other unit, the D, will be untouched. The same thing you could do in the reciprocal way. So it appeared like there were two parts of the H2 segment in this.

So this is as far as I brought it. I was awarded a PhD degree in 1964, I think, and in that... by that time I was more interested... I didn't feel like that project will lead too far. I mean there was... whatever could be done I thought I did and I didn't how... how to... how I can do more. But the H2 itself began to attract me very much. I mean here was an example of something that seemed like it was complex genetically and it was very exciting to find out what does the complexity mean. There was no, in mammals, no other system, no what... how are genes organised? Or what do they... in cases of blood groups, for instance, what is the relationship between the antigen and the genes?

Born in 1936, Jan Klein is a Czech-American immunologist who co-founded the modern science of immunogenetics – key to understanding illness and disease. He is the author or co-author of over 560 scientific publications and of seven books including 'Where Do We Come From?' which examines the molecular evolution of humans. He graduated from the Charles University at Prague in 1955, and received his MS in Botany from the same school in 1958. From 1977 to his retirement in 2004, he was the Director of the Max Planck Institute for Biology at Tübingen, Germany.

Listeners: Colm O'hUigin

Colm O'hUigin is a senior staff scientist at the US National Cancer Institute. He received his BA, MSc and PhD at the Genetics Department of Trinity College, Dublin where he later returned as a lecturer. He has held appointments at the Center for Population and Demographic Genetics, UT Houston, and at the University of Cambridge. As an EMBO fellow, he moved in 1990 to the Max Planck Institute for Biology in Tübingen, Germany to work with Jan Klein and lead a research group studying the evolutionary origins of immune molecules, of teeth, trypanosomes and of species.

Tags: Gregor Johann Mendel, Jack H Stimpfling, George Davis Snell, Peter Alfred Gorer

Duration: 4 minutes, 56 seconds

Date story recorded: August 2005

Date story went live: 24 January 2008