Duffy, Kidd, Diego and Lutheran. Do these names ring bells? They might, but not the way that you think. They are little known, but documented blood types. Researchers in the Biology department at the University of Vermont or UVM, as it is known around these parts, identified two new blood types to add to the list. What? Who knew? In addition to the blood types that all of us can rattle off without thought – A, B and O, there are many more — 30 in all. As of this month, that number now reaches 32.

English: Bleeding wound on thumb.

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Photo Credit: Joshua Brown - UVM

Langereis and Junior are the two new blood types identified by University of Vermont researchers. While the two blood types appear to be predominant among Asian folks, knowing your blood type and having health care providers familiar with all 32 kinds can save your life.

Bryan Ballif, a biologist at UVM stated that the two new transport proteins are ABCB6 and ABCG2 and are the first new proteins discovered in ten years.  Both of the new proteins are also associated with anti-cancer drug resistance so these findings are not only important because they identify blood types but also may provide advancements in some types of cancer research and treatment.

According to a press release from the University of Vermont:

As part of the international effort, Ballif, assistant professor in UVM’s biology department, used a mass spectrometer funded by the Vermont Genetics Network. With this machine, he analyzed proteins purified by his longtime collaborator, Lionel Arnaud at the French National Institute for Blood Transfusion in Paris, France.

Ballif and Arnaud, in turn, relied on antibodies to Langereis and Junior blood antigens developed by Yoshihiko Tani at the Japanese Red Cross Osaka Blood Center and Toru Miyasaki at the Japanese Red Cross Hokkaido Blood Center.

After the protein identification in Vermont, the work returned to France. There Arnaud and his team conducted cellular and genetic tests confirming that these proteins were responsible for the Langereis and Junior blood types. “He was able to test the gene sequence,” Ballif says, “and, sure enough, we found mutations in this particular gene for all the people in our sample who have these problems.”

The research is quite an accomplishment and good news for those people around the world who have one of these rare blood types. According to Ballif:

Although these other blood systems are very rare, “if you’re that one individual, and you need a transfusion,” Ballif says, “there’s nothing more important for you to know.”

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