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Blood donation is tricky business. Every cell in your body
has specific marker proteins which identify it as your own
tissue material. Your immune system has cells which
"scan" these proteins for a foreign tag. If they don't
recognize the protein on the surface, they attack. This is
you can only receive a specific blood type. If your
body does not recognize the blood cells, it will bind them
together which can cause death. O type blood is often
referred to as 'the universal donor' because it has no such
proteins. As such, an immune system will be unable to
bind the cells together. This is why anyone can receive
type O blood. I propose to devise an enzyme which will
strip any blood type of it's marker proteins, thus making it
type O and allowing it to be used in any patient. This
would greatly simplify the blood donation process and
prevent cases where medical care does not have enough of
the correct type of blood to treat a patient.
Pretty much spot-on, posty.
[MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 27 2010]
||Borders on the "magic" callout (see "help" under meta), simply because you are not spelling out how you will accomplish what you propose.
||Perhaps others with more bio background will come along and speculate appropriately, so I'm rooting for this good cause.
||Actually, the A/B/O blood grouping is determined not by
proteins, but by sugar molecules stuck to the proteins on
the surface of the red blood cells.
||However, the basic idea is completely sound. In fact, I am
pretty sure that people have looked into glycosylases (sugar-
cleaving enzymes) to, effectively, convert all bloods to type
Yeah, I was afraid of that. Unfortunately I'm still a
student (and a new one at that) so the
super-specifics of this would be beyond me, though
now that I think about it, a competitive inhibitor
could work. Another protein akin to an antibody
that binds to the marker proteins ahead of time and
blocks anything else from binding to them, it would
probably be easier than stripping them off the cell.
||//Actually, the A/B/O blood grouping is determined
not by proteins, but by sugar molecules stuck to the
proteins on the surface of the red blood cell//
||[MB] My inexperience shines through again.
||Just google "blood type conversion" and you'll find
plenty of references to using glycosylases (specifically,
galactosidases, which cleave off a particular type of sugar
molecule) for exactly this purpose. See link for example.
||Postscript, your idea was pretty much spot-on (apart from
referring to proteins versus sugar groups), so a [+] even