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Canadian researchers unveiled a promising bit of scientific alchemy Tuesday: a newly discovered enzyme that may be able to turn your average blood donation into coveted Type O blood, which can be safely transfused into at least 85 percent of Americans.

Their work is an admittedly early step, but one researchers hope could ultimately help them address near-constant shortages of donated blood. 


The enzyme, which is found in bacteria living in the human gut, may be able to transform more types of blood into Type O than others that have been tested before. It will also work on blood that hasn’t been processed, unlike those earlier contenders, and appears to work about 30 times faster.

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