All NK cells potentially lytic for autologous cells but not expressing self-major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-reactive receptors could be eliminated by a negative selection mechanism during ontogeny. This idea is based on the existence of a NK cell subset expressing a specific inhibitory receptor for allogeneic MHC alleles. As ancestral haplotypes of the MHC appear to define identical MHC haplotypes in unrelated individuals, unrelated individuals having the same ancestral haplotype should also have the same NK-defined allospecificities that have been shown to map to the human MHC. To test this prediction, multiple cell lines from unrelated individuals having the same ancestral haplotypes were tested for the NK-defined allospecificities. It was found that cells having the same ancestral haplotypes do have the same NK-defined specificities. Furthermore, the NK-defined phenotype of cells that possess two different ancestral haplotypes can be predicted from the NK-defined phenotypes of unrelated cells that are homozygous for the ancestral haplotypes concerned. Although the group 1 and 2 NK-defined allospecificities can be explained to some extent by HLA-C alleles, evidence is presented that additional genes may modify the phenotype conferred by HLA-C.