ABO Blood Group and RH Group System

The blood group classification is based on the presence of an inherited antigenic substance on RBC’s surface. Based on that fundamental idea, this article will help you to learn about blood groups and their importance. In turn, you will learn about blood types and their characteristics in general.

So, with that in mind, let’s proceed to find more about the blood group list and their groupings!

What is the ABO Blood Group System?

It was discovered in 1901 by Karl Landsteiner. He found out that when different blood types are mixed, plasma of certain blood types formed clusters owing to the absence of molecules on RBCs. In turn, it led to the defeat of particles in antibodies. 

Based on his observation, he formulated the Landsteiner Rule. He divided blood group list into four distinct groups, i.e. A, B, AB and O. Also, as per the law, if there is an antigen in an individual’s RBC, the matching antibody will not be present in their plasma under any normal situation. 

DIY: What is a blood group? Give examples.

Types of Blood Groups

There are of four types - 

  1. Type A

Only antigen A is present on RBCs. Individuals with type A can receive type A and O blood. Likewise, they can donate blood to individuals with type A and type AB blood.

  1. Type B

Antigen B is present on RBCs. Someone with type B can receive blood from individuals with type O and type B blood. Similarly, they can donate to individuals with type AB and type B.

  1. Type AB

This type is also known as the Universal Recipient. In type AB the RBC’s have antigen A and B. Individuals with this blood type can receive blood from all four blood types. However, they can only donate it to individuals with type AB.

  1. Type O

This type is also known as the Universal Donor. In type O, there are no antigen present in RBCs. Notably; individuals with this blood type can receive only type O. However, they can donate blood to all four types. 

This image below shows the different types of blood groups.

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Fig: Blood groups and their characteristics

Test Your Knowledge: The antigens for ABO and Rhesus groups are found on: 

a) Plasma 

b) White blood cells 

c) Red blood cells 

d) Platelets.

What is Rh Blood Group? 

Around 2/3rd of the population is said to have the third antigen known as Rh antigen or Rh factor on the surface of their RBC. Based on the presence of this antigen, a blood group is either positive or negative.

For instance, if the Rh factor is absent in an individual, he/she is said to produce Rh antibodies and is rhesus negative. On the other hand, if the Rh factor is present, the individual is Rh-positive. 

This table below highlights the blood group table showing how blood groups are inherited.

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Fig: Blood group list 

Importance of Blood Group System

The significance of the blood group system is that it ensures safe blood transfusion. To elaborate, if a blood type which is not the same as ours is introduced in our body, the immune system will recognise it as a foreign body. 

As a result, it will lead to a transfusion reaction, which is often fatal. This is why, before transfusion, it is recommended to get the blood type-checked.

Additionally, systems of blood groups and its importance has found application in preventing haemolytic diseases, resolving paternity disputes, medico-legal cases, etc. 

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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Who Discovered Blood Groups?

Ans. Karl Landsteiner discovered the ABO blood group system in 1901 during an experiment. Later in 1902, Alfred von Decastello and Adrianao Sturli, who assisted Karl Landsteiner, discovered the type AB. 

2. How Many Types of Blood Groups are There?

Ans. There are four different types; namely, A, B, AB and O and they are classified based on the presence of inherited antigenicity on the RBCs. Also, each of these blood types is either Rh, negative or positive.  

3. Which Blood Group is Called a Universal Donor?

Ans. The blood type O is known as a universal donor as they can donate blood to all three blood types, i.e. A, B, O and AB. However, they can receive blood from only type O.