Do animals have blood groups like humans?

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Do animals have blood groups like humans?
« on: 08/09/2011 16:30:05 »
Rebecca  asked the Naked Scientists:
Dear Chris,

 Is there any intrinsic difference between the blood of different mammals? Are any of the components, red, white or plasma, interchangeable? Do all mammals have the same blood-types as us? In principle, we ever have transfusions of any component from animal to human? (unrealistically assuming no legal or ethical hurdles)

Also, more about mammals, which by definition when newborn are suckled by their mother (or any other lactating individual). Why do some species go on to develop an intolerance to milk? I realize that in the wild babies must move on to other foods, but is the lactose intolerance necessary for this? Also, if milk contains all the components necessary to build a newborn into an infant, is there anything lacking in it for adults? i.e. could, in theory, an adult live exclusively on human milk? if not, what is missing?

And, last one: Why do frozen bananas taste to good? Most fruit turns utterly solid like ice when frozen, but a lolly-stick and a banana make a great snack with a much more "eatable" texture. Is it related to water content, or is there something more going on? There must be because bananas also become sweeter when frozen. I think I read something about the starch breaking down into sugars, but why would
that happen when freezing? I would expect decomposition of molecules to require additional heat, not cooling, and I know baked, fried or grilled bananas also become sweeter. (albeit that might have something to do with the rum ;-)

Hoping for enlightenment, and wishing you all the midsummer-best


(triple-expat par excellence)
What do you think?
« Last Edit: 08/09/2011 16:30:05 by _system »


Offline The Penguin

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Do animals have blood groups like humans?
« Reply #1 on: 18/10/2011 20:16:17 »
Well let's start by defining what a blood group is. Basically blood cells have glycolipids that they present outwards on their surface. In the case of type A blood, the blood creates A type glycolipids and is able to make B type  antibodies. These antibodies when they come in contact with type B blood (blood presenting type B glycolipids) binds these blood cells together through coagulation. The formal use of blood type has become common place in that being AB antigen as well as + or - for rhesus antigen are important distinctions that lead directly to issues if the wrong blood type is present. To be fair though we have numerous different blood types that aren't as important when it comes to transfusions. So to answer the question, yes, animals have different blood types. Whether or not those blood types would cause coagulation during a transfusion I'm not sure. It certainly depends on the animals and the type of antigens created by each type.