On October 4, 2022, Wired published an article relaying an important genetic discovery. The tragic loss of a child after birth turned out to be the result of a new blood group called ER. The ER blood type is extremely rare, but the mother had it and it proved incompatible with the blood of the child. As a result the mother's immune system began to attack the child leading to its death. Although this anomaly in blood was first discovered in 1982, it was not until recently that the scientific and medical communities have had the technology or knowledge to learn more about it. Even now, the blood type is so rare that these scientists are working with a very small sample of individuals. Despite these challenges, it was determined that the ER type is related to the protein Piezol which is on the surface of red blood cells. The proteins on the ER cells are slightly different due to a different combination of the amino acids coding for it. Because of this, normal cells (like the ones in the dead child) are foreign to ER cells.
As incredible as this discovery is, it is just one of over thirty types of blood groups that have been discovered over the years. This research as a whole is so important. The more blood groups that are recognized, the more we can provide safe medical care and genetic advise to others. Knowledge of rare blood types is important for those pregnant or looking to become pregnant, those in need of blood transfusion or undergoing surgery, those often exposed to blood, and many more people in our societies. Scientist should continue researching the ER blood group and continue looking for other blood anomalies. This could provide life changing information to others.
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