MadSci Network: Science History

Re: Does the blood type AB mean you have royle blood?

Date: Fri Jan 12 20:06:22 2001
Posted By: Sarah Tegen, Grad student, Molecular and Cell Biology, UC-Berkeley
Area of science: Science History
ID: 978243688.Sh

Hi Jen,
This is a great question!  I think what your dad meant when he said you have 
royal blood (other than being his little princess), is that if you have AB+ 
blood, you can receive a blood transfusion from ANY other type of blood-- A, 
B, AB or O, either positive or negative, and you can only give blood to 
people with AB+ blood.  Therefore, people are always giving to you, and you 
don't have to give to many other people--kinda like royalty.  

Let me explain why.  If you have type A- blood, it means your red blood 
cells have the A marker on the surface, and no Rh factor.  If you were to 
receive blood with the B surface marker (B-, B+, AB+ or AB-), your immune 
system would recognize the blood as foreign, and make it clump up!  If you 
were to receive type A+ blood, the same thing would happen, due to the 
presence of the Rh marker.  If you have type B+ blood, you could receive 
blood which was B+, B- (the - means that the Rh factor isn't there, so 
there's nothing to react with), O+ or O-.  The O blood type doesn't have any 
surface marker, so like before, there's nothing to react with.  OK--so if 
you have AB+ blood, you have all of the different kinds of markers on the 
surface of your blood cells-- A, B and the Rh factor.  This means you could 
get blood from anyone, but you could donate only to people who also have AB+ 

I'm also including another response to a similar question I found in the 
MadSci archives. Please let me know ( if you have any 
other questions, or if my answer doesn't make sense.

Happy Friday!


Date: Tue May 4 11:47:15 1999
Posted By: David Beck, MadSci Admin
Area of science: Genetics
ID: 925753350.Ge 


Blood type indicates what antigens are on the surface of the blood cell.
There are three different factors, A, B, and Rh that can be on the surface
of the blood cell. 

If a person has all three factors A, B, and Rh they will not generate an 
antibody response to any of these factors. This is called the universal 
acceptor. The can receive blood from anyone.

As far as blood type is concerned a person is either Rh- or Rh+ meaning, 
either have the Rh factor or they don't. If they have the Rh factor they 
not generate antibodies against Rh so the can receive blood from someone who 
Rh+ or Rh-.

Then when we consider the A and B factors. A person can have either A 
factor, B 
factor, A and B factors, or neither. If a person has A and B factors they 
generate antibodies against A or B. If they have A, then they make no A 
antibodies, and if tehy have B then the make no B antibodies. So an AB 
can receive blood  with no AB, with A, with B, or with A and B. But an A 
can only receive blood from a person with A or no factor.

Now if a person doesnt have A or B or Rh, then they can give blood to 
but can only receive blood from someone who doesn't have A or B or Rh.

Someone without A or B is called O

So the bloodtypes are O+, O-, A+, A-, B+, B-, AB+, AB-

TYPE            Can give to                     Can receive from
O+                      O+,A+,B+,AB+            O-,O+ 
O-                      all                                     O- 
A+                      A+,AB+                          O+,O-,A+,A-
A-                      A+,A-,AB+,AB-           A-,O- 
B+                      B+,AB+                          O+,O-,B+,B- 
B-                      B+,B-,AB+,AB-           B-,O- 
AB+                     AB+                                     all 
AB-                     AB+,AB-                         O-,A-,B-

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