Blood Group Interactions between Mother and Foetus

  • C. A. Clarke


It was Ford (1942) who first regarded the human blood groups as examples of balanced polymorphism and suggested that there would be found physical advantages and disadvantages associated with them (such as susceptibility to certain diseases) which would maintain the genes in the population. It was however many years before practical work was begun on the subject and only when Aird, Bentall & Fraser Roberts (1953) had shown that a significantly high proportion of those suffering from cancer of the stomach belong to group A and of those with peptic ulcer to group O did the idea become generally accepted. Though of great theoretical interest, such associations between blood groups and disease are not of help to particular patients, and the purpose of this paper is to draw attention to other situations which have medical (or veterinary) implications to individuals and yet which also play a part in maintaining the polymorphisms. Such for example are disorders due to interactions between the blood groups of mother and foetus which may result in haemolytic disease of the newborn, conditions where there is maternal immunization by foetal white cells and platelets, and, more speculatively, where blood group compatibility may determine the course of certain types of cancer.


Blood Group Hydatidiform Mole Haemolytic Disease Blood Group Incompatibility Rhesus Haemolytic Disease 
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© Blackwell Scientific Publications 1971

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  • C. A. Clarke

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