One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
An antigen occurring on the red blood cells of many humans (around 85 per cent) and some other primates. It is particularly important as a cause of haemolytic disease of the newborn and of incompatibility in blood transfusions.
- ‘Anti-D injections are used to counteract the rhesus factor if it proves necessary after a blood test.’
- ‘The rhesus factor protein is the next most important one after the A and B proteins.’
- ‘There are also subsidiary blood proteins such as the rhesus factor that can be positive or negative (absent).’
- ‘Treatment for women with rhesus factor disease (where the Rh blood groups of the mother and baby do not match) is essential.’
- ‘The discovery of the rhesus factor in human blood by American scientists also had important implications for blood grouping and, ultimately, for the development of human genetics.’
1940s: rhesus from rhesus monkey, in which the antigen was first observed.
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