clonal-selection theory A theory of antibody specificity to account for the very great variety of immunoglobins that an organism may produce, and the absence of antibodies that react with the organism's own cells. The theory suggests that during embryonic development a vast population of lymphoid cells is produced, each possessing the ability to synthesize a different antibody. There follows selection by cloning of only those cells that produce antibodies with configurations that are not complementary to any antigens normally present in the embryo.
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