George Davis Snell

George Davis Snell
(1903 - 1996)

American geneticist who, with Jean Dausset and Baruj Benacerraf, was awarded the 1980 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for his studies of histocompatibility (a compatibility between the genetic makeup of donor and host such that a tissue transplant from the former will not be rejected by the latter).
Snell graduated from Dartmouth College in 1926 and received a doctor of science degree from Harvard University in 1930. During 1931-33 he studied under the geneticist Hermann J. Muller at the University of Texas. In 1935 he joined the staff of the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine, where he served as senior staff scientist from 1957 until his retirement in 1969.

Snell's studies of histocompatibility in mice resulted in the identification of the H-2 gene complex and subsequently to the recognition of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC), an assortment of antigens (substances that cause the production of antibodies) that is common to the genetic makeup of all vertebrates. Snell was coauthor of Histocompatibility with Dausset and Stanley Nathenson in 1976.

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