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By M.D. Fulton Roberts

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The relationship of the first and fourth antibodies is particularly direct for their reactions are the opposite of each other. From this last observation Sir Ronald Fisher deduced that the antigens being recognised by these two antibodies were mutually exclusive. In other words the genes determining these antigens were alleles (like D and d) so that 33 34 HUMAN BLOOD GROUPS one or other, but not both, could be inherited from a parent and occupy the appropriate site on the chromosome. He called these two alleles, and the antigens they determine, C and c, no doubt because A and B were already in use as blood group symbols.

CHAPTER VIII THE ABO SYSTEM ALTHOUGH the ABO blood groups were the first by many years to be discovered and are the most important of all groups clinically, they display such unusual features, in comparison with other groups, that they are hardly a suitable introduction to the topic in general. As early as the year 1900 Karl Landsteiner showed that the human race could be divided into several groups by the agglutination reactions of red-blood cells, and these observations were rounded off by two of his pupils two years later.

Without Y, the A antigen will not develop on the cells but may appear in the secretions, depending upon the presence of the Se gene which is necessary if these blood-group substances are to appear in the secretions. THE ABO SYSTEM 55 I t is as well at this stage to consider the gene 0 , a topic so obscure t h a t it is almost impossible to say anything sensible about it. Persons of genetype 0 0 must presumably inherit a gene of some kind even though all t h a t can be said about it is t h a t it is not A or B .

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