Your daily selection of the latest science news!
According to Popular Science (This article and its images were originally posted on Popular Science December 4, 2018 at 12:34PM.)
You’re probably used to hearing about blood type in simple terms. You’re either an A, B, AB, or O type, with a plus or minus at the end. You might not be totally sure what each bit means, but one of them is definitely a universal donor (O negative) and another is a universal recipient (AB plus).
What you probably don’t know is that the A/B/O and plus/minus (which is really called the Rh or Rhesus group) systems are just two of 35 human blood groups. You read that right: there are 35 indicators that determine your blood type.
Most of the time, all 35 indicators don’t matter. Many are largely the same across the population, so people are likely to match anyway, plus plenty of people never require a blood transfusion. But if you need transfusions to live and you happen to have a rare blood type, it can be a huge problem. That’s the situation that two-year-old Zainab, who lives in South Florida, is in right now. She has neuroblastoma, one of the more common pediatric cancers, and she has an unusual blood type. So unusual, in fact, that the organization OneBlood is conducting a global survey to find her an exact match—even her own parents can’t give her blood.
To see more posts like these; please subscribe to our newsletter. By entering a valid email, you’ll receive top trending reports delivered to your inbox.