ABO Grouping – Class 11 | Chapter – 18 | Biology Short Notes Series PDF

ABO Grouping: Karl Landsteiner, an Austrian scientist discovered the ABO blood group system in the year 1900. In his experiments, he mixed different blood types and noted that the plasma from certain blood type produced agglutinates or formed clusters which were caused by the absence of molecules on red blood cells and resulting in antibodies to defeat that molecule. He then made a note of the agglutination and divided the blood types into 4 different groups. For the discovery of ABO blood group, he was awarded the Nobel Prize.


The ABO blood group system consists of 4 types of blood group – A, B, AB, and O and is mainly based on the antigens and antibodies on red blood cells and in the plasma. Both antigens and antibodies are protein molecules in which antigens are present on the surface of Red Blood Cells and antibodies are present in the plasma which is involved in defending mechanisms.

On the other hand, the Rh blood group system consists of 50 defined blood group antigens. In the Rh system, the most important antigens are D, C, c, E, and e. The ABO and Rh blood systems are discussed in detail below.

ABO Grouping System

The basis of ABO grouping is of two antigens- Antigen A and Antigen B. The ABO grouping system is classified into four types based on the presence or absence of antigens on the red blood cells surface and plasma antibodies.

ABO Grouping System

  • Group A – contains antigen A and antibody B.
  • Group B –contains antigen B and antibody A.
  • Group AB –contains both A and B antigen and no antibodies (neither A nor B).
  • Group O – contains neither A nor B antigen and both antibodies A and B.

The ABO group system is important during blood donation or blood transfusion as mismatching of blood group can lead to clumping of red blood cells with various disorders. It is important for the blood cells to match while transfusing i.e. donor-recipient compatibility is necessary. For example, a person of blood group A can receive blood either from group A or O as there are no antibodies for A and O in blood group A.

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By Team Learning Mantras