Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Duffy Blood Group (FY)

The autosomal dominant Duffy antigen is an RBC membrane-bound glycoprotein (GPD) that has two major antigenic determinants defined by their anti-Fy(a) and anti-Fy(b) antibodies. A rare third phenotype defined by the anti-Fy6 anti-body is also known. Duffy negativity, Fy(a b), seems to confer resistance to malarial infection. Both Fy(a) and Fy(b) are apparently an integral part of the Plasmodium receptor on RBCs. The Duffy protein functions as a receptor for cytokines and as an attachment site for Plasmodium vivax merozoites. When certain chemokines (IL-8 and MGSA) are bound to the Duffy antigen site, the malarial agent fails to bind to and enter RBCs. Three major alleles have been identified: FYB (a b), FYA(a b), and FYO (a b); FYB is the suggested ancestral (chimpanzeelike) allele. The polymorphism also gives rise to the possibility of hemolytic disease of the newborn.

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