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Human Blood Groups. Geoff Daniels (ed.). Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, 2002. Pp. 560. £99·50.

Geoff Daniels is to be congratulated on producing a further edition of his book Human Blood Groups. Since Race and Sanger wrote their definitive book in the 1950s, which then went into six editions over the following 25 years, the knowledge of blood groups has expanded enormously. In this second edition, Daniels has addressed recent research in this field, particularly in relation to understanding blood groups at the molecular level.

Blood groups are defined in the strictest sense as inherited variants of red cell membrane proteins, glycoproteins and glycolipids that are defined by an antibody. Much of the serological variability that has been extensively described over the last 50 years can now be understood at the gene level.

After a description about classification of blood groups and their nomenclature, each blood group system, defined as one governed by a single gene or closely linked genes and genetically distinct from others, is given its own chapter. Here you will find historical details, recent knowledge of the biochemistry and molecular genetics, and detailed information of each of the antigens described within the system, along with a section on functional aspects and disease associations. In addition to the 26 blood group systems, antigen collections and series are also described. There is a chapter on HLA antigens found on red cells and a final one on gene mapping. Books about blood grouping have previously included sections on their use in forensic science but molecular techniques have provided other polymorphisms that can be employed more usefully in this specialized area and so are not described here.

The latest edition is a substantial rewrite of the first, and reviews the literature up to 2001. The book will serve as a vital reference for clinicians interested in transfusion medicine, and researchers involved in transfusion science, biochemistry and human genetics.

Denize Syndercombe Court