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A blood type (also called a blood group) is a classification of blood, based on the presence and absence of antibodies and inherited antigenic substances on the surface of red blood cells (RBCs). These antigens may be proteins, carbohydrates, glycoproteins, or glycolipids, depending on the blood group system. Some of these antigens are also present on the surface of other types of cells of various tissues. Several of these red blood cell surface antigens can stem from one allele (or an alternative version of a gene) and collectively form a blood group system. Blood types are inherited and represent contributions from both parents. A total of 36 human blood group systems and 346 antigens are now recognized by the International Society of Blood Transfusion (ISBT). The two most important blood group systems are ABO and Rh; they determine someone's blood type (A, B, AB and O, with +, or null denoting RhD status) for suitability in blood transfusion.
Everyone has an ABO blood type (A, B, AB, or O) and an Rh factor (positive or negative). Just like eye or hair color, our blood type is inherited from our parents. Each biological parent donates one of two ABO genes to their child. The A and B genes are dominant and the O gene is recessive.
There are four main blood types: A, AB, B and O. AB positive is considered the universal recipient, and O negative is considered the universal donor.
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