The Compatibility Gene

David M Davis

Allen Lane

Reading this book has cured my lifelong aversion to the mind-boggling complexity of immunology. By sharing the passionate stories of past and present pioneers of immunology, from Peter Medawar to Ashley Moffett, Daniel Davis makes their discoveries come alive, and even convinced me that I have a glimmer of understanding.

Of course, there is not just one compatibility gene. There are around 240 genes in the major histocompatibility complex, with many polymorphisms. But that's still not many with which to respond to everything from an infectious virus to a transplanted kidney. The intricacies of the immune system are only matched by the ingenuity of those who have unravelled them and whose stories are told in this absorbing book.

Martin Redfern

Shortlisted in the General Book category of the Society of Biology Book Awards 2014