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major histocompatibility complex Syllabification: ma·jor his·to·com·pat·i·bil·i·ty com·plex

Entry from US English dictionary

(abbreviation: MHC)

Definition of major histocompatibility complex in English:


A genetic system that allows large proteins in immune system cells to identify compatible or foreign proteins. It allows the matching of potential organ or bone marrow donors with recipients.
Example sentences
  • The classic example of genetic variation in the immune system is the major histocompatibility complex on chromosome 6.
  • This would be consistent with evolution of variation in the major histocompatibility complex of the human immune system by infectious agents.
  • The host's major histocompatibility complex is the part of the immune system that presents antigens to various immune system cells.
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