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Ann Intern Med. 1985 Apr;102(4):497-510.

NIH conference. Molecular genetic analysis of human lymphoid neoplasms. Immunoglobulin genes and the c-myc oncogene.


Immunoglobulin genes responsible for individual antibodies are organized as discontinuous DNA segments in their germline form. As an uncommitted stem cell develops into an antibody-synthesizing plasma cell, rearrangements of these immunoglobulin gene segments serve to activate the genes and to generate the virtually unlimited capacity to synthesize antibodies that recognize potential antigens. The analysis of immunoglobulin gene structure and arrangement has been of immense value in the study of human lymphoid neoplasms. Recombinant DNA technology involving analysis of immunoglobulin gene arrangement has been used to classify neoplasms of previously uncertain lineage, aid in the diagnosis of neoplasms of the B-cell series, and define the state of differentiation of neoplastic B-cell precursors. Furthermore, the demonstration of translocation of a particular transforming gene, the c-myc oncogene, into the immunoglobulin gene locus in Burkitt's lymphoma has provided a major insight into the cause of malignant transformation of these lymphoid cells.

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