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There are millions of possible antigens. To respond to each antigen, the immune system must quickly produce an antibody by modifying the DNA of a B cell.

I have no idea how this process works, but surely it can't be by trial and error.

So I thought how I would do it:

  1. The part of the pathogens DNA that codes for receptors is copied

  2. then an algorithm is applied that transforms this code into an antibody code.

  3. This code is then pasted into the DNA of the B cell. So the B cell has antibody receptors that fit on the antigen.

But how does it work in reality?

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    $\begingroup$ Please read up on clonal selection and V(D)J recombination. $\endgroup$ – acvill Mar 15 '20 at 14:36
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    $\begingroup$ And yes, it happens through trial and error. $\endgroup$ – Chris Mar 15 '20 at 19:10
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks, that answers my questions. Apparently we have 10^12 B-cells predefined in our body generated by a random process. Amazingly that the correct antibody is found in relative short time of a few days. $\endgroup$ – Jacq Mar 15 '20 at 20:37
  • $\begingroup$ @Jacq: consider answering your own question with what you found, that might make it easier for future users to use the answer. $\endgroup$ – Maximilian Press Mar 21 '20 at 17:23

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