Blood group identification

Blood group identification

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Credit: AJ PHOTO/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Blood group identification. Haematologist updating the labels on donor blood bags after determining their blood group, or type. There are four human blood types: A, B, AB and O. Type A blood has type A antigens (surface proteins) on its red blood cells and anti-B antibodies (proteins that bind to type B antigens) in its serum. Type B blood is the reverse. AB blood has no antibodies, but has both A and B antigens on its cells. Type O blood has both antibodies but no antigens. The blood type is identified by adding an antibody serum containing either only anti-A, only anti-B or both anti-A and anti-B. Identifying the blood type prevents patients from having fatal immune responses when receiving donated blood.

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