Tag Archives: cows

Bovine fraternal skin graft

Another thing I learned from the August 1951 issue of The Times Review of the Progress of Science is that cows can accept skin grafts from their fraternal twins, but humans can’t.  That’s because cow fetuses actually share some blood and tissue in the womb, and automatically get desensitized to those particular foreign entities when they’re young enough not to reject them.  This was totally new to me but apparently if I knew anything about immunology I would already be familiar with this, because Peter Medawar’s work on the phenomenon earned him the 1960 Nobel Prize and more or less launched the field of acquired transplantation tolerance.

There was also an anecdote about a baby switched at birth, who doctor proved to be the identical twin of another child in his birth family by grafting a patch of his skin onto the other kid!

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