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Answer to Question #61183 in Molecular Biology for Sanjukta Ghosh

Question #61183
In immunology what exactly are isotype, allotype and idiotype? What is their application?
Expert's answer
Isotype is a slight phenotypic variation within the immunoglobulin family that encode for variant immunoglobulin heavy chains and immunoglobulin light chains. Isotypes that belong to a particular gene family are duplicate copies of the same gene that arose because of a mistake during DNA replication. As the species continues to evolve, those duplicated genes are passed from generation to generation until every member of the species has a copy.

Allotype is the allele of the antibody chains found in the individual. This term refers to an idea that each immunoglobulin has unique sequences particular to the individual’s genome that manifest in its constant region. Allotype can be used for resolving paternity disputes.

Idiotype is a shared characteristic between a group of immunoglobulin or T cell receptor molecules based upon the antigen binding specificity and therefore structure of their variable region.

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