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What Are the Main Blood Types?

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  • The differences in human blood are due to the presence or absence of certain protein molecules called antigens’ and antibodies. The antigens are located on the surface of the red blood cells and antibodies are in the blood plasma. Individuals have different types and combinations of those molecules. The blood type you belong to depends on what you inherited from your parents.
  • It was the pioneering work of Austrian scientist Karl Landsteiner which made it possible to determine blood types; for his discovery he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine in 1930.
  • Blood has been classified into four types: A, B, AB, and O based on the ABO grouping system.
  • If your blood type is A, your red blood cells carry a protein called antigen A and your plasma, a protein called antibody B.
  • If you are type B, your blood contains antigen B and plasma carries antibody A. Blood type AB carries both antigens but no antibody, while type O blood has neither of the antigens but both of the antibodies.
  • These categories are important in blood transfusion because certain antigens and antibodies are hostile to each other, and can cause fatal blood-vessel blockages.
  • Generally, people with type A blood can safely receive blood from blood group A’s and O’s, while type B recipients are safe with blood from B’s and O’s.
  • People whose blood is type AB are known as universal recipients; their blood is compatible with types AB, A, B, and O. Type O people, on the other hand, are called universal donors; they can give blood to anyone.An antigen is a substance that stimulates the body to produce an antibody.

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