Tuesday, July 7, 2009

major histocompatibility complex mismatch!

I recently came over this major-histocompatibility-complex-thing while reading Meg Cabot’s Princess Diaries series – Vol. 10: 'Princess Forever'. Quoting from the book…

“Major histocompatibility complex is the gene family found in most mammals that is responsible for reproductive success. These molecules, which are displayed on cell surfaces, control the immune system. They have the capacity to kill pathogens, or malfunctioning cells. In other words, MHC genes help the immune system to recognize and destroy invaders. This is especially useful in the selection of potential mates. MHC has recently been shown to play a crucial role, via olfaction (or sense of smell), in this capacity. It has been proven that the more diverse, or different, the MHC of the parent, the stronger the immune system of the child.”

[apologies for the long, eye-rolling definition]

“Interestingly, MHC-mate dissimilar selection tendencies have been categorically determined in humans. The more dissimilar a male’s MHC to a female (this was without deodorant or cologne), the “better” he tended to smell to her in clinical studies. These studies have been duplicated time and again, with the same results.”

And so I come to wonder…is he [that somebody, vampire, mr. X, @*!#%] my MHC mismatch?

Chuckle. Chuckle. Chuckle. Hah! Silly…0____<