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Other Blood Types

March 21, 2012

New research adds 2 more rare blood type systems to a surprisingly long list.



New blood types.  I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

You might know whether your blood type is O, A, B, or AB, and Rh positive or negative.  But there are actually 30 other ways to type blood, including two just identified by French scientists.  The latest are based on proteins called Langereis and Junior.  According to Biologist Lionel Arnaud of the French Institute of Blood Transfusion, they’re almost universal.

LIONEL ARNAUD (French Institute of Blood Transfusion):

Everybody on this planet are positive for this blood type.  Except few of them.  Extremely few of them.

For the first time, Arnaud’s team discovered that some people can be negative – for instance, over fifty thousand Japanese people lack the Junior protein.  These rare variations could explain why some blood transfusions go awry, even when the standard blood types match.  And pregnant women who lack these proteins may also be at risk for miscarriages, if the fetus is positive.  I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.