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HomeTechnologyResearchers Find New Blood Group System With The 'Er' Antigen; Know More

Researchers Find New Blood Group System With The ‘Er’ Antigen; Know More


In a medical breakthrough, scientists have discovered a new and rare blood group system that has helped them crack a long-time mystery in blood type classification in the process.

Published in the journal Blood, the findings have solved a 30-year-old mystery that talks about the basis of the three known, but genetically uncharacterised proteins in the blood that did not fit into any known blood group systems.

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The Independent UK reported study co-author Ash Toye stated, “This work demonstrates that even after all the research conducted to date, the simple red blood cell can still surprise us.” The blood group of a person is decided by the presence or absence of proteins on the surface of red blood cells (RBCs).

Scientists from the University of Bristol, UK shed light on the importance of blood groups other than the popular ones, ABO or RH (the plus or minus). Researchers analysed the blood of participants with antibodies against a collection of the “Er” antigen. The Piezo1 protein’s gene coding was seen to have changed, a protein used to sense when it’s being squeezed by the RBCs.

The protein required the Er antigen to be added to the surface of the cell. Gene-editing techniques and DNA sequencing methods were used to show Er to be a new blood group system. The finding was also crucial in the outcomes of pregnancies according to the study.

Researchers stated, “Antibodies directed against two novel high incidence Er antigens are associated with severe hemolytic disease of the fetus and newborn.” Research also revealed that in case of a mismatch between a mother and baby, antibodies in the mother’s blood can cause problems for the unborn child.

The new discovery can help scientists pinpoint uncommon blood groups and develop new tests to identify them. It will further help the healthcare system to provide better care for patients with rare and uncommon blood types.

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