Golden Blood (Animals, Biology)
Most of us are aware of the eight basic blood types (A, AB, B, and O—each of which can be positive or negative), there are currently 35 known blood group systems according ISBT with millions of variations in each system. Blood that doesn’t fall into the ABO system is considered rare, and those who have such blood may find it challenging to locate a compatible donor when in need of a transfusion.
Still, there’s rare blood. Presently, the most unusual kind of blood is known as “Rh-null.” As its name suggests, it doesn’t contain any antigens in the Rh system. It’s not that uncommon for a person to lack some Rh antigens. For instance, people who don’t have the Rh antigen have “negative” blood (e.g. A-, B-, or O-). Still, it’s extremely extraordinary for someone to not have a single Rh antigen. It’s so extraordinary, in fact, that researchers have only come across 40 or so individuals on the planet who have Rh-null blood
What makes this blood even more interesting is that it totally beats O blood in terms of being a universal donor, since even O-negative blood isn’t always compatible with other types of rare negative blood. Rh-null, however, works with nearly any type of blood. Since Rh-null blood has zero Rh, A, or B antigens, it can be given to practically everyone
Unfortunately, there are only about nine donors of this blood in the world, so it’s only used in extreme situations. Because of its limited supply and enormous value as a potential lifesaver, some doctors have referred to Rh-null as “golden” blood
Those who have the Rh-null type undoubtedly have a bittersweet existence. They know that their blood is literally a lifesaver for others with rare blood, yet if they themselves need blood, their options are limited to the donations of only nine people.