• Question: Why do we have different blood types?

    Asked by mollieK to Adrian, Gaia, Jim, Scott on 16 Mar 2016.
    • Photo: Gaia Andreoletti

      Gaia Andreoletti answered on 16 Mar 2016:

      Good question!

      Unfortunately there is little understanding of how and why such blood types evolved in the first place. These blood molecules stand as a reminder that we still have a lot to learn about human biology 🙂

    • Photo: Scott Lawrie

      Scott Lawrie answered on 16 Mar 2016:

      What a great question! I had to do a bit of Googling to find the answer… and as Gaia says it’s still a bit of a mystery! Have a read of this fascinating article: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20140715-why-do-we-have-blood-types

      To summarise, different blood types developed over 20 million years ago in primates as a way to save the entire species from certain diseases which can latch on to some types of blood: those apes with a different blood type didn’t get the disease, so the species as a whole wasn’t wiped out in a plague.

      Even today, lots of primates share our blood types – with some differences. For example, Gorillas only have type B blood, whereas Chimpanzees only have types A and O! Fascinating stuff – I’m glad you asked the question :mrgreen: