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Keywords:

  • blood group;
  • donor screening;
  • genotyping;
  • high-throughput;
  • HPA;
  • platelet antigen

Blood group antigens, present on the cell membrane of red blood cells and platelets, can be defined either serologically or predicted based on the genotypes of genes encoding for blood group antigens. At present, the molecular basis of many antigens of the 30 blood group systems and 17 human platelet antigens is known. In many laboratories, blood group genotyping assays are routinely used for diagnostics in cases where patient red cells cannot be used for serological typing due to the presence of auto-antibodies or after recent transfusions. In addition, DNA genotyping is used to support (un)-expected serological findings. Fetal genotyping is routinely performed when there is a risk of alloimmune-mediated red cell or platelet destruction. In case of patient blood group antigen typing, it is important that a genotyping result is quickly available to support the selection of donor blood, and high-throughput of the genotyping method is not a prerequisite. In addition, genotyping of blood donors will be extremely useful to obtain donor blood with rare phenotypes, for example lacking a high-frequency antigen, and to obtain a fully typed donor database to be used for a better matching between recipient and donor to prevent adverse transfusion reactions. Serological typing of large cohorts of donors is a labour-intensive and expensive exercise and hampered by the lack of sufficient amounts of approved typing reagents for all blood group systems of interest. Currently, high-throughput genotyping based on DNA micro-arrays is a very feasible method to obtain a large pool of well-typed blood donors. Several systems for high-throughput blood group genotyping are developed and will be discussed in this review.