clonal selection theory
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Related to clonal selection theory: clonal selection theory of immunity
clonal selection theory[¦klōn·əl si′lek·shən ‚thē·ə·rē]
Theory to explain the specificity of the adaptive immune response according to which there is a large pool of lymphocytes, each having genetically predetermined specificity for only one of a vast array of possible antigens. Upon encountering an antigen, the lymphocytes sensitive to it reproduce much more rapidly than the others, thus leading to a build-up of antigen-specific cells large enough to mount the response.