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To many a man, retirement means the end of his productive life. Not so for the academic physician like Sir Macfarlane Burnet. Relieved of the responsibility of running a world-famous medical research institute, the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Melbourne, he has already authored two important postretirement books in the field of cellular immunology. The first, Self and Not Self, updated his clonal selection theory of antibody formation. The second, Immunological Surveillance, concerned cancer immunity.
In the present volume, Burnet reviews his thinking on a topic to which he made outstanding contributions during his days as a working scientist.
To explain the exceptions to self-recognition, Burnet invokes two special extensions of the clonal concept. The first is the process of somatic mutation to explain the origin of those "forbidden clones" that should have been eliminated or arrested by self-antigens. The second is the application of statistical analyses in the
Rose NR. Auto-Immunity And Auto-Immune Disease.. Arch Intern Med. 1973;132(5):774. doi:10.1001/archinte.1973.03650110106027