Frequency of RHD variants in serologically weak D Turkish blood donors

Transfus Apher Sci. 2021 Apr;60(2):103024. doi: 10.1016/j.transci.2020.103024. Epub 2020 Nov 27.


Background: RhD typing has remained of primary importance, as being the leading cause of hemolytic disease of the newborn. Among Rh system's 55 blood group antigens, RhD is the most immunogenic. We aimed with this study to determine weak D/partial D variant frequency in blood donors who were admitted to our blood center and have serologically designated blood group weak D.

Materials and methods: We screened blood donors who admitted between 2011 and 2017 to our blood center. Sixty-seven serologically weak D phenotyped donors have participated in the study. These donors' samples were studied further by Polymerase Chain Reaction Sequence- Specific Primers (PCR-SSP) for determining D variants.

Results: Weak D phenotype was detected in 228(0.12 %) out of 177,554 donors. Sixty-seven of them agreed to take part in the study. The frequency of weak D and partial D was 68.7 % (n = 46), and 22.4 % (n = 15), in order. The most encountered weak D and partial D variant was type 15 and DFR type, respectively.

Conclusions: The prevalence of serologically weak D phenotypes varies by race and ethnicity. Turkey is a country covering a mixture of European and Asian DNA with different ethnic groups. Thus, our research as giving the overall distribution of RHD variants from the largest city of Turkey, which may reflect the general ethnic background of the country, would help to the establishment of a databank for blood banking. This paper is the first molecular study on RHD variants in Turkey. New molecular research would be more reliable and precise.

Keywords: Blood donor; Molecular RHD typing; Partial D; Variant D; Weak D.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Donors / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Rh-Hr Blood-Group System / metabolism*
  • Turkey
  • Young Adult


  • Rh-Hr Blood-Group System
  • Rho(D) antigen