The Blood Group problem!!!!

Richard L. Hall rhall at
Tue Jan 16 07:17:01 EST 2001

Over simplification, like many things in life, is a compromise.  Text 
book discussions of ABO blood typing usually stress the Mendelian 
inheritance pattern of the trait.  In that sense, the text authors 
are not really wrong, just keeping things simple.   Many times they 
neglect to mention that the ABO markers are found on many cells 
besides blood cells.  Reality is more complex and possibly more 
interesting.  That does not make the text books horribly wrong.

Part of the confusion is based on methodology:

The A and B blood types are measured using antibodies to the six 
sugar glycolipids (A- and B- antigens).  The precursor molecule for 
the A and B antigens is a five sugar glycolipid  called the 
H-antigen.   The H-antigen does not illicit an apparent immune 
response so it is not detected using common antibody assays. 
Never-the-less the H-antigen exists and there must be a genetic basis 
for its' formation which for the sake of simplicity can be designated 
the O-gene even though more than one gene may be involved.... I do 
not know much about the regulation of oligosaccharide biosynthesis in 
the golgi apparatus but the order of sugar molecules is very uniform. 
Could be a nifty research area.

So you see, even in a more detailed explanation, it sometimes helps 
to simplify things.  ;-)


>Cen Writes:
>Are you saying that all of the high school biology books are wrong ???

>In a message dated 1/15/2001 8:11:38 AM Central Standard Time,
>rhall at writes:
>>Subj: Re:The Blood Group problem!!!!
>>Date: 1/15/2001 8:11:38 AM Central Standard Time
>>From:    rhall at (Richard L. Hall)
>>To:    cengulate at (CENGULATE)
>>CC:    neur-sci at
>>Good Morning,
>>Wrong!   Everybody has the "O-gene."
>>Genes are expressed as polypeptides or proteins.  The A and B antigens
>>are NOT proteins but rather <underline>glycolipids</underline> found on
>>the membranes of most human cells.  The proteins produced by  "A and B
>>genes" are enzymes that catalyze the addition of specific sugars
>>(either N-acetylgalactosamine or D-galactose) to a glycolipid
>>consisting of L-fucose: D-galactose: N-acetylglucosamine: D-galactose:
>>N-acetylgalactosamine:lipid. The five sugar glycolipid is sometimes
>>called the 'H-antigen" although it is actually non-antigenic.  The A or
>>B antigens are formed by the addition of either N-acetylgalactosamine
>>or D-galactose to the H-antigen.
>>The so called "O gene" produces the glycosylating enzyme (or enzymes)
>>producing the  "H-antigen."  There are "A-genes, B-genes, and "O genes"
>>as well as an A-antigen, a B-antigen, and a "H-antigen" and they are
>>apparently inherited in a Mendelian fashion.
>><excerpt>In human blood groups the AB blood type has a gene for type A
>>blood inherited
>>from one parent and a gene B inherited by the other parent, so you see
>>are no O genes in blood group AB therefore a baby with blood type O can
>>Richard L. Hall, Ph.D.
>>Comparative Animal Physiologist
>>University of the Virgin Islands
>>2 John Brewers Bay
>>St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. 00802
>>340-693-1385 FAX
>>rhall at
>>"Live life on the edge...the view is always better"  rlh
>>----------------------- Headers --------------------------------
>>Return-Path: <rhall at>
>>Received: from ( [])
>>by (v77.31) with ESMTP; Mon, 15 Jan 2001 09:11:38
>>Received: from ( []) by
>> (v77.27) with ESMTP; Mon, 15 Jan 2001 09:11:24 -0500
>>Received: from [] ( [])
>>    by (8.9.3/8.9.3) with ESMTP id KAA15841;
>>    Mon, 15 Jan 2001 10:11:20 -0400 (AST)
>>Mime-Version: 1.0
>>Message-Id: <v04220800b6888ab4da26@[]>
>>In-Reply-To: <20010114175604.09691.00001364 at>
>>References: <93r436$mg0$1 at>
>><20010114175604.09691.00001364 at>
>>Date: Mon, 15 Jan 2001 10:11:54 -0200
>>To: cengulate at (CENGULATE)
>>From: "Richard L. Hall" <rhall at>
>>Subject: Re:The Blood Group problem!!!!
>>Cc: neur-sci at
>>Content-Type: multipart/alternative;

Richard L. Hall, Ph.D.
Comparative Animal Physiologist

University of the Virgin Islands
2 John Brewers Bay
St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. 00802

340-693-1385 FAX

rhall at

"Live life on the edge...the view is always better"  rlh
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: not available
Type: text/enriched
Size: 5080 bytes
Desc: not available
Url :

More information about the Neur-sci mailing list