• blood groups;
  • genotyping;
  • molecular testing

Background and Objectives  The aim of the study was to evaluate, in an international collaboration, four lyophilised genomic DNA preparations, selected from genotyped and phenotyped donors by the study organisers, for their suitability to standardise and control blood group genotyping procedures for common ancestral Caucasian and Black African alleles.

Materials and Methods  Twenty-nine laboratories performed ‘blind’ testing of replicated ampoules of the candidate reference reagents, RBC1 (10/232), RBC4 (10/236), RBC5 (10/238) and RBC12 (10/234), using a range of genotyping procedures, most commonly classical PCR using allele or sequence specific primers.

Results  The majority of laboratories reported blood group genotypes in accordance with those determined by the study organisers and the serological phenotypes. Despite an overall high level of accuracy in genotyping, the identified errors and inconsistencies, and the limited genotyping capabilities of many laboratories, confirmed the need for validated reference materials to control test procedures.

Conclusions  The establishment of RBC1, RBC4, RBC5 and RBC12 as World Health Organization Reference Reagents will facilitate international standardisation of blood group genotyping and ensure that such tests are sufficiently sensitive and specific.