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Why do blood types matter? - Natalie S. Hodge


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TEDEd Animation

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It’s often said that despite humanity’s many conflicts, we all bleed the same blood. It’s a nice thought, but not quite accurate. In fact, our blood comes in a few different varieties. Natalie S. Hodge defines the four major blood types and sheds light on why some bloods can mix while others cannot.

Additional Resources for you to Explore

As with most topics in human genetics, blood type is more complicated than it appears on the surface. There are other human blood groups that are less common than the ABO blood group. For example, the Bombay Phenotype is a recessive condition in which the precursor of the A or B antigen, the H antigen, is not made. It occurs in about 1 in 10,000 people in India and 1 in million people in Europe. Even though someone inherits the alleles for an A or a B antigen, they can’t make these antigens if they don’t have the instructions on HOW to make them. For more info on the Bombay phenotype, visit this site.

There have been other stories of people with extremely rare blood. For more information on these unique individuals, read the article: The man with the golden blood. This article in the Atlantic also provides insight into what life is like having a rare blood type: The Most Precious Blood on Earth. Find it amazing that blood donations for those rare types can actually be shared across the world? Read this story in the Smithsonian: “Your Blood Type Is a Lot More Complicated Than You Think” and find out more! For many people, blood donations truly are the gift of life.

Interested in learning more about blood? Watch as Hank Green discusses: Blood!. Follow this up with this SciShow video on What are Blood Types? The Red Cross also has a great site on the different blood types. Which type are you?

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TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Natalie S. Hodge
  • Script Editor Alex Gendler
  • Director Brad Purnell
  • Narrator Addison Anderson

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