Blood group

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Blood groups are determined by the carbohydrates attached to the proteins in the glycocalyx on the surface of the red blood cells. Different oligosaccharide structure for each:

A sugar added by specific glycosyltransferase (GT) enzymes and the pattern is determined by which glycosyltransferase gene we carry.

There are two GT enzymes present (GTA and GTB) which are encoded for by different forms of the same gene. Blood group A produce GTA that put N-acetly-galctosamine on the surface of the red blood cells and blood group B produce GTB that put on galactose on the surface of the red blood cells [1].

In O blood group the GT is non-functional. AB blood group produces both GTA and GTB.

Oligosaccharide structure of blood group O consists of 2 galactose molecules, 1 fructose molecule and 1 N- acetyl glucoanime.

Rhesus Blood Group

Annotated as the Rh system, this involves grouping individuals by the presence or absence of the D antigen of the Rh blood group system. The D antigen is the most immunogenic of the Rh antigens. Patients are referred to as Rh+ or Rh- (positive or negative), according to whether or not they possess the D antigen. Rh+ individuals may only donate blood to other positive individuals. Rh- individuals may donate to both positive and negative recipients[2].


  1. David Goodsell and RCSB Protein Data Bank, 2015, Website, assessed at 03/12/2015, available from: fckLR
  2. Talaro, Kathleen P. (2005). Foundations in Microbiology (5th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill. pp. 510–1. ISBN 0-07-111203-0.
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