In a bid to create a vast reserve of universally acceptable O-negative blood, a team of Scottish scientists is heading up a research project that aims to produce synthetic blood from embryonic stem cells.
Teams will test human embryos left over from IVF treatment to find those destined to develop into the universal “O-negative” blood donor group.
O-negative blood can be transfused into anyone without fear of tissue rejection and is the only safe option when a patient’s blood group is unknown or not immediately available.
This precious blood is in limited supply because only 7% of the population belongs to this blood group.
The Wellcome Trust is understood to have promised £3 million towards the cost of the multimillion-pound project, with further funding coming from the blood transfusion services of Scotland, and England and Wales.
The Irish government is also believed to be involved.