A blood type (also called a blood group) is a classification of blood, based on the presence and absence of antibodies and inherited antigenic substances on the surface of red blood cells (RBCs). These antigens may be proteins, carbohydrates, glycoproteins, or glycolipids, depending on the blood group system. Some of these antigens are also present on the surface of other types of cells of various tissues. Several of these red blood cell surface antigens can stem from one allele (or an alternative version of a gene) and collectively form a blood group system. Blood types are inherited and represent contributions from both parents. A total of 36 human blood group systems and 346 antigens are now recognized by the International Society of Blood Transfusion (ISBT). The two most important blood group systems are ABO and Rh; they determine someone's blood type (A, B, AB and O, with +, − or null denoting RhD status) for suitability in blood transfusion.
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