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Why do we have different blood types? - BBC Science Focus Magazine

Our Blood Types

Our Blood Types

Human beings have four major blood types, A, B, AB and O.

Blood cells, like all cells, are covered with molecules called ‘antigens', which depend on our genes. If we transfuse the blood of a certain antigen into a person with a different one, the immune system attacks it and that can cause major organ damage.

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Why do we have different blood types? - BBC Science Focus Magazine

Why do we have different blood types? - BBC Science Focus Magazine

https://www.sciencefocus.com/the-human-body/why-do-we-have-different-blood-types/

sciencefocus.com

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Key Ideas

Our Blood Types

Human beings have four major blood types, A, B, AB and O.

Blood cells, like all cells, are covered with molecules called ‘antigens', which depend on our genes. If we transfuse the blood of a certain antigen into a person with a different one, the immune system attacks it and that can cause major organ damage.

The Most Common Antigens

Identified by Dr Karl Landsteiner in 1901, the most common antigens are A and B, and a person with type O blood has neither of the antigens, while some have both of them (Type AB).

Another antigen called RhD was discovered in 1937.

Currently, we have 36 systems to categorize blood types and 346 different antigens, whose exact purpose still remains unknown.

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