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I have the soul of an academic. Last night, I got to thinking about blood type. I wondered how come I have a B+ blood, when everyone in my family is O or A. I decided to go hunting on the Internet to see if I could learn something about where I come from using this tidbit of information.
It turns out, B-type people are universally less common than O and A.
I discovered that there is a high probability I have some Asian — Siberian, Mongolian, Chinese, Indian — ancestor. Genghis Khan made serious inroads into Europe and I am probably proof of it.
The incidence of type B is low amongst Jews. Low everywhere, really. It’s not unheard of, nor so infrequent as to be rare, but low. My mother was type O, the most common blood group everywhere. Among native peoples in the western hemisphere, type O is close to 100%. Many scientists theorize that “O” was the “original” human blood type and all other types mutated from it.
That’s one theory, anyhow.
This is a bit of a hot topic because some places, blood typing has been used to categorize people as inferior, notably Japan. There are always racists looking for a way to prove they are superior to everyone else. At least one study (I’m not sure I should dignify it with that name) claims people of B-type blood are descendants of Neanderthals while O and A descended from Cro-Magnon. This is pure speculation. Not research.
Worse, there are pockets of racists who contend that A is the only pure Aryan blood type. What evidence did they base this on? None. Particularly interesting since O is the dominant blood type everywhere.
Overall in the world, B is the rarest ABO blood allele. Only 16% of humanity has it. It reaches its highest frequency in Central Asia and Northern India. It’s believed to have been entirely absent from Native American and Australian Aboriginal populations prior to the arrival of Europeans. However, there are relatively high frequency pockets in Africa too.
B is not a dominant blood type anywhere. It is highest in the Philippines and Siberia, lowest in the Americas. Very rare in the British Isles and Scandinavia. The highest percentage it reaches is 38% of the population and that is in the Philippines. The middle East, melting pot that it is, is more or less evenly divided into the three major blood types. If this shows some kind of migratory pattern for our ancestors, no one can prove it. Not yet, anyway.
It turns out there is no universally accepted theory of the origins of man. Scientists and other theorists can’t even agree whether or not we all have the same progenitors.
So after all this, I don’t know much more than I did when I started. Clearly there is something to be learned from the distribution of blood types in the world, but no one is sure what, exactly.
So, did you learn anything? I think it shows that somewhere in my dim, distant family history, a soldier from the Golden Horde left some DNA behind. I wish I knew more. It would make a terrific story. Very romantic.