Wednesday, December 18, 2013

What's Your Blood Type?

Do you know what your blood type is? I know mine, because it was written on the little cards on the bassinets at the hospital when my babies were born. Actually, I wasn't sure if it was my blood type or theirs, but it turns out to have been mine: AB+. I asked my husband, and said he's pretty sure his blood type is O-.

At our last co-op meeting for 2013, my friend Sara, had us all test our blood types for nature study. She got some kits, which included cards, anti-A serum, anti-B serum, and anti-Rh serum, along with color-coded toothpick stirrers and needles to poke our fingers. The needles were pretty big, so she very kindly allowed us to use the finger-poker they use with their diabetic son.

First, we watched this helpful video explaining about blood types:

After poking my finger, I put a drop of blood in each of three spots on my card, then added the appropriate serum and mixed them. After a few minutes, I could see where my blood was beginning to clot and where it was not. My blood clotted with both the anti-A serum and the anti-B serum, but not the anti-Rh serum, so I knew I had both the A protein and the B protein, and my Rh was positive.

It was fascinating to see how the kids' blood types turned out! Of course, none of them was going to be the same as mine, as they got half their DNA from their dad and he's O-. Turns out we have 5 separate blood types in our family:

Beth: AB+
Todd: O-
Emma: AO-
Abbie: AO+
Isaac: BO+

When Sara's boys were tested, they were surprised by some of the results. Sara and her husband both testsed Rh negative, but a couple of the boys tested Rh positive. A bit of quick research showed that you can have one positive Rh allele and on negative. Genetics are never as simple as they seem, are they?

I learned that while Todd is a "universal donor," meaning his blood type can be donated to anyone as long as they are Rh-. I, on the other hand, am a "universal recipient," meaning I can receive blood from anyone, but I can't donate to anyone unless they have my specific blood type.

This was a neat experiment! It goes along with biology and anatomy/physiology studies, and it's just fun to do even if you're not specifically studying those subjects, too. Of course, if we need to know our blood types for an official reason, we'll ask the doctor or donate blood. :-)

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