Anyone who has ever been to a blood drive knows that those that are type O are the rock stars of the event. While A negative types may be exotic and interesting and O is a lot more common, so perhaps not so alluring, there is the fact that O is compatible with all types. This makes O the universal donor. Well, it turns out that now those with O may have to give up their rock star status. But, it’s for an excellent cause. Because, now scientists may be able to take any blood, even an exotic AB negative type and make it compatible for anyone. How? A bacterial enzyme may have the key. Blood types come from antigens. Type O people are lacking antigens, making them universally usable by all. Scientists recently discovered that enzymes harvested from human guts may be able to eliminate antigens from blood, making all blood types essentially type O. Turns out the enzymes are great at breaking down sugar. Turns out too that antigens are sugary. So, far this is all theory, but it is compelling and could mean a giant breakthrough in blood availability.
- Four basic blood groups exist and each has their associated antigens except for blood group O.
- Because blood group O doesn’t have antigens, it is called the universal donor. That means the other types AB, A and B can accept blood in this group.
- To convert type AB, A and B to type O, the sugary antigens in the blood have to be broken down.
“Scientists may have found a reliable way to use a bacterial enzyme to convert any type of blood into type O, which is compatible with nearly everyone.”
Read more: https://bigthink.com/stephen-johnson/scientists-use-gut-bacteria-to-convert-any-blood-into-type-o
We have 2 electron micrograph images of blood that you are free to download and use in presentations, notes, term papers. We only ask that if you edit out our logo that you at least give us a mention.
A) White blood cell surrounded by red blood cells. SEM image.
B) Red blood cells captured in cross section of vein. TEM image.