Skip to comments.Blood Type History, Human Migrations (Blam Thread)
Posted on 07/03/2005 1:47:49 PM PDT by Little Bill
I have been interested in human migrations for many years. One of the markers of a population is the distribution of a blood type among a given population.
I got interested in this because the blood type distribution in the UK is nearly 50/50 A/O, a small sample has other blood types.
My dear old Ma is Black Irish and is A/B, not a common blood type in the part of Ireland where her family originated.
Click on the link for distributions.
Just read a very interesting mystery novel, they can tell from analyzing the strontium in your teeth and bones where you grew up, and were you lived for the last few years of your life.
Kathy Reichs was the author, pretty good read. Fair warning: it takes place in Quebec!
Blood provides an ideal opportunity for the study of human variation without cultural prejudice. It can be easily classified for many different genetically inherited blood typing systems. Also significant is the fact that we rarely take blood types into consideration in selecting mates. In addition, few people know their own type today and no one did a century ago. As a result, differences in blood type frequencies around the world are most likely due to other factors than social discrimination. Contemporary Japan is somewhat of an exception since there are popular Japanese stereotypes about people with different blood types. This could affect choice in marriage partners for some Japanese.
All human populations share the same 27 known blood systems, although they differ in the frequencies of specific types. Given the evolutionary closeness of apes and monkeys to our species, it is not surprising that some of them share a number of blood typing systems with us as well.
When we donate blood or have surgery, a small sample is usually taken in advance for at least ABO and Rh systems typing. If you are O+, the O is your ABO type and the + is your Rh type. It is possible to be A, B, AB, or O as well as Rh+ or Rh- . You inherited your blood types from your parents and the environment in which you live can not change them.
We have learned a good deal about how common each of the ABO and RH blood types is around the world. It is quite clear that the distribution patterns are complex. Both clinal and discontinuous distributions exist, suggesting a complicated evolutionary history for humanity. This can be seen with the global frequency patterns of the type B blood allele (shown in the map below). Note that it is highest in Central Asia and lowest in the Americas and Australia. However, there are relatively high frequency pockets in Africa as well. Overall in the world, B is the rarest ABO blood allele.
Distribution of the B type blood allele in native populations of the world
At 10-35% frequency in most populations of the world, the A blood allele is more common than the B allele. The highest frequencies of A are found in small, unrelated populations, especially the Blackfoot Indians of Montana (30-35%), the Australian Aborigines (many groups are 40-53%), and the Lapps, or Saami people, of Northern Scandinavia (50-90%). The A allele apparently was absent among Central and South American Indians.
Distribution of the A type blood allele in native populations of the world
The O blood type (usually resulting from the absence of both A and B alleles) is very common around the world. It is particularly high in frequency among the indigenous populations of Central and South America, where it approaches 100%. It also is relatively high among Australian Aborigines and in Western Europe (especially in populations with Celtic ancestors). The lowest frequency of O is found in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, where B is common.
Distribution of the O type blood in native populations of the world
The distribution patterns for the Diego blood system are even more striking. Evidently, all Africans, Europeans, East Indians, Australian Aborigines, and Polynesians are Diego negative. The only populations with Diego positive people may be Native Americans (2-46%) and East Asians (3-12%). This nonrandom distribution pattern fits well with the hypothesis of an East Asian origin for Native Americans.
These patterns of ABO and Diego blood type distributions are not similar to those for skin color or other so-called "racial" traits. The implication is that the specific causes responsible for the distribution of human blood types have been different than those for other traits that have been commonly employed to categorize people into "races." Since it would be possible to divide up humanity into radically different groupings using blood typing instead of other genetically inherited traits such as skin color, we have more conclusive evidence that the commonly used typological model for understanding human variation is scientifically unsound.
The more we study the precise details of human variation, the more we understand how complex are the patterns. They cannot be easily summarized or understood. Yet, this hard-earned scientific knowledge is generally ignored in most countries because of more demanding social and political concerns. As a result, discrimination based on presumed "racial" groups still continues. It is important to keep in mind that this "racial" classification often has more to do with cultural and historical distinctions than it does with biology. In a very real sense, "race" is a distinction that is created by culture not biology.
Pretty interesting stuff. I am A+ (German, English, Irish background), as are both my parents.
Interesting. Thanks for posting!
Well I'll be a monkey's uncle. Learn something new around here every day. Thanks for posting, LB.
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i'm o. my mo' is 3/4 osage + cherokee.
I'm AB+ and my mom was AB-. My grandfather, an immigrant escaping persecution and barely literate, is believed to be from western Asia. It certainly fits this model. Thanks for info, it's interesting reading.
Is that O+ and O-?
I am O+, English, Irish, Scots, the area of England that my family inhabited was a Saxon strong hold, Wessex. My dear ex was Lithuanian, had the Mongol spot, was also O+, most of my Lithuanian pals are B+, as are most Slavs, strange.
Keep up the good work.
Thanks. Here's a semi-relevant sidebar.
The human blood type genes are on chromosome nine. Type A seems to be the fountainhead, as the codominant B sequence is similar to A, and is about 15 per cent of the world population, while A is approximately 40 per cent. Type O is otherwise identical with the sequence for A, just missing the first base pair. Also there is something called (I think) Bombay syndrome, which is nearly the same as A, and tests positive for A using common blood tests, but isn't quite compatible, so an A transfusion will kill someone with Bombay syndrome.
Kind of a "gotcha".
There is also the MN family, which resides in the same chromosome, but isn't part of the ABO family. Not a huge percentage of the world population has it. M and N are codominant within that system, and I'm not sure what happens with the (probably rare) intermarriages with ABO people.
:') Quite agree! "Big Bill" has been at this on FR for a long time.
"What he got from Martin Fugate was dark blue skin. "It was almost purple," his father recalls."
Is this prevalent among people who live on the edge of civilization, remnant types. If you look at remnant types they have a tendency to have odd markers.
I'm sure the Orientals would get a good chuckle over this statement.
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