Analogous to human leukocyte antigens, blood group antigens are surface markers on the erythrocyte cell membrane whose structures differ among individuals and which can be serologically identified. The Blood Group Antigen Gene Mutation Database (BGMUT) is an online repository of allelic variations in genes that determine the antigens of various human blood group systems. The database is manually curated with allelic information collated from scientific literature and from direct submissions from research laboratories. Currently, the database documents sequence variations of a total of 1251 alleles of all 40 gene loci that together are known to affect antigens of 30 human blood group systems. When available, information on the geographic or ethnic prevalence of an allele is also provided. The BGMUT website also has general information on the human blood group systems and the genes responsible for them. BGMUT is a part of the dbRBC resource of the National Center for Biotechnology Information, USA, and is available online at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/projects/gv/rbc/xslcgi.fcgi?cmd=bgmut. The database should be of use to members of the transfusion medicine community, those interested in studies of genetic variation and related topics such as human migrations, and students as well as members of the general public.
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