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Name: Edward
Status: Other
Grade:  Other
Location: TN
Country: United States
Date: November 2005

It has been stated that DNA is only found in white blood cells as opposed to red blood cells. If a person receives whole blood, which contains red cells, through a transfusion, is it possible that DNA from the doner will mix or combine with the recipient's DNA?

A followup question would be if a person receives a bone marrow transplant, is it possible that DNA from the doner will affect the DNA of the recipient? This effect being that the DNA would merge or one become dominate over the other.

A more simple question - Is it possible that the DNA of one person will mix or merge with the DNA of another person if a doner receives a whole blood transfusion or a bone marrow transplant? Since bone marrow produces blood cells, would the transplanted bone marrow produce cells with the DNA of the doner or produce cells with the DNA of the recipient?

No, there is no reasonable chance that DNA from blood transfusions or marrow donations will mix with host DNA. Cells don't readily exchange their DNA, except in the case of sexual reproduction. In order for such a mixture of DNA to occur, you have to achieve a fusion of cell nuclei in such a way that the nucleus and its cell remain intact and alive. That's a fairly difficult trick, and it requires a lot of very specialized cellular apparatus and behavior to pull it off. Somatic cells (those not involved in reproduction) don't ever go around fusing their nuclei; it's just not a part of their behavior.

C. Perkins

There are mutliple questions here, each of which would require quite a bit of explanation to respond completley. First off, reb blood cells as alluded to, have no nucleus and no DNA. They do have rna....which is a nuclear informational molecule. White blood cells do nave nuclei and a full compliment of chromosomes. Red blood cells have a life span of about 120 days. White cells have highly variable life spans once released from the bone marrow into the circulation...from hours to years. The subject is complicated by the nature of that they divide to form "daughter" cells. The original cell no longer is an entity. In transplantations of tissues, be they a transfusion or a marrow transplant or organ transplant the donor tissue if it does not come from the individual must meet certain compatability criteria prior to transplantation.

In peripheral blood....blood in the circulation, this is somehat routine since it is the first transplantation of human tissue to become routine. The donor cells in a blood transfusion...which is a transplant, to my knowledge do not generally remain detectable for long periods but simply die to be replaced by the recipient's own cells. This is not the case in bone marrow transplantsan where stem cells seed into the recipient's bone marrow to produce their cells indefinatley...if the recipient does not reject the transplant because of a lack of tissue compatability. There is also a chance that the donor cells will "reject the new home" and attack the recipients body. This is called a " graft verses host response." In any case, if the new marrow is successful in seeding the marrow, the recipient will typically have the donor's DNA in all the decendents of the transplanted cells. The dna from these cells does not generally "mix" with the DNA of the recipients cells. Nor does it replace the DNA of the cells in other tissues of the recipient.


No, no and no. When you get a packed cell transfusion (ie. RBC's) there are always white blood cells in there also. Packed cells are actually blood minus the plasma, or liquid part of the blood, not just RBC's. So, yes, the WBC's have the DNA because RBC's get rid of their nuclei before emerging from the bone marrow. Even if you do have someone else's blood in your body, it is only transient because the life span of one red blood cell is only 3 months. A transfusion is supposed to give someone enough blood to last until they can make their own. So while it is theoretically possible to have someone else's WBC DNA in a sample, those cells will eventually be eliminated from the body.

No, their DNA does not merge with yours.


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