Judd, W. John Department of Pathology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Last reviewed:January 2018
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- Antigens and genes
- Blood group systems
- ABO blood group
- Rh blood group
- Other blood groups
- Biological role
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
Any of the genetically determined markers on the surface of cellular blood elements (red and white blood cells, and platelets). Blood groups (types) have medical, legal, and anthropologic importance. In medicine, the matching of ABO and Rh groups of recipients and donors before blood transfusion is of paramount importance (see illustration); other blood groups also can be implicated in incompatibility. Markers on white cells (histocompatibility antigens) are shared by a number of body tissue cells; these markers are important to the survival of transplanted organs and bone marrow. In law, the recognition of identity between bloodstains found at the scene of a crime and those on clothing of a suspect has resulted in many convictions, and blood typing has served to resolve paternity disputes. From an anthropologic standpoint, some blood groups are unique to specific populations and can be a reflection of origin or migration patterns. Blood groups are also valuable markers in gene linkage analysis, and their study has contributed enormously to the mapping of the human genome. See also: Blood; Blood group genotyping; Crossmatching; Genetic mapping; Histocompatibility; Human genome; Immunology; Serology; Transfusion
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