Peter Brian Medawar and the discovery of acquired immunological tolerance

Domenico Ribatti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The immunological tolerance was described for the first time with the seminal observations made in 1945 by R.D. Owen, demonstrating that cattle dizygotic twins display red cell chimerism in adult life. F.M. Burnet and F. Fenner highlighted the Owen's discovery in their monograph "The production of Antibodies" published in 1949. In 1953, P. Medawar and his co-workers showed that tolerance can be experimentally induced in fetal mice and in chick embryos. In 1960, Medawar in recognition of the significance of his 1953 and 1956 papers was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Burnet for their discovery of acquired immunologic tolerance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-66
Number of pages4
JournalImmunology Letters
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2015


  • History of medicine
  • Innunology
  • Not-self
  • Self
  • Tolerance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy


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