Cana­dian team to con­vert any blood group to Type O

BioSpectrum (Asia) - - Q & A -

A team of re­searchers from the Univer­sity of Bri­tish Columbia, Canada has iso­lated an en­zyme in the gut that re­li­ably con­verts any type of blood into type O, which is com­pat­i­ble with nearly ev­ery­one.

There are four ba­sic types of blood group, AB, A, B and O, and each group is char­ac­terised by the pres­ence of anti­gens, which are sug­ars on the sur­face of the cells. Type A blood has A anti­gens, type B blood has B anti­gens, type AB has both, and type O has no anti­gens.

Us­ing a tech­nique called metage­nomics, the team was able to take a large amount of mi­crobes from a sam­ple of hu­man fae­ces and get a snapshot of all the DNA found in the gut. The team then iso­lated bac­te­rial genomes from the sam­ple and tested thou­sands of en­zymes against sug­ary prox­ies that re­sem­bled A and B anti­gens. One en­zyme was found to be par­tic­u­larly ef­fec­tive at strip­ping away A anti­gens from red blood cells.

Re­searchers were then able to com­bine their new en­zyme with one that is al­ready known to re­move B anti­gens from blood cells, pro­vid­ing a way to con­vert AB, A and B blood into type O. The re­searchers hope to con­tinue ex­plor­ing their new ap­proach to blood-type con­ver­sion in clin­i­cal tri­als to test the ef­fects on the hu­man body.

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