Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952453 | Print ISBN: 9780761930297 | Online ISBN: 9781412952453| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Joshua M. Zavitz
Distinguished by particular cell membrane surface antigens (protein markers) on red blood cells (RBCs), there have been over 35 different blood groups identified thus far. Although these include groups such as MNSs, Duffy, Lewis and so on, the ABO and Rh blood groups play the most significant role in blood transfusions. The frequency and stability of these blood groups in human population not only enhances our knowledge of human migration but have also been found to play a vital role in many applications of medicine including blood transfusion, transplantation, disease, and other physiological processes. A blood transfusion involves the transfer of blood from one individual to another to restore the RBC levels and their ability to carry sufficient oxygen throughout the body. Our blood is composed of plasma (liquid portion) and formed elements, which consist of RBCs, white blood cells, and platelets. On the surface of the RBCs are antigens ...