DESCENDING FROM THE GOLDEN HORDE – B+ AND ME

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.

Blood type O: the Americas

Blood type O: the Americas

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.

blood types around the world

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.

56 thoughts on “DESCENDING FROM THE GOLDEN HORDE – B+ AND ME

  1. Blood typing can ever be related to race? I am scared…..I have a good news to tell you…You know what? I have bought The 12- foot Teepee on kindle in the evening ! I don’t feel like writing prompt and want to read it just after the dinner…Yayyyy 🙂

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  2. This is something I’ve never really delved into before, so I was quite fascinated to see the maps, and I had no idea O was THAT common! I know my blood type is A since that was confirmed as part of a class biology experiment, and I’d assume A- since that’s my Mom’s blood type. My Dad is AB-, which is supposedly the rarest of the 8 types with RH factor. I always heard we tend to get our blood type from our mothers, although I’d say yours is a truly weird case indeed! Maybe you have some of Charlie Sheen’s tiger blood in you!

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    • The inheritance of RH factor is complicated. Whether or not you are + or -, you might want to find out. Easiest way? Donate blood. They will tell you. My guess is you aren’t A- or blood banks would be calling you all the time. It’s rare and they never have enough. I have a couple of friends who are A- or AB-. They donate blood often because their type is so hard to come by. Garry is O+ — the universal donor. He was getting calls from every blood drive to the point where he told them to bugger off. He’s a good sport, but enough is enough.

      The only way I can have B+ blood — which I do — is for both of my parents to have carried it as a recessive (at least). I found it interesting. I didn’t realize it was rare. Who knew? Mostly, what I learned, is that there is probably an Asian somewhere back there … Maybe Genghis himself? Therein lies a story 🙂

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      • i believe your info is incorrect or you r not understanding or repeating it correctly. study up on recessive & dominant blood/genetic terminology. + there is definitely rare AB both neg & pos genotypes but blood banks do not commonly search out & recruit for donors & pre-computers prob didn’t keep running lists. Most people r not aware of their own or general blood type data unless they were ID in military or presurgical. The ethnology & science is complicated

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        • “Blood banks do not commonly search out & recruit for donors” — except for me, they did. Because when you have a lot of heart surgery in a hospital deeply involved in research, you’d be astonished at what they check, double-check and track. It’s good they did because otherwise, I’d probably not have survived all that surgery. Most people don’t even know the basics of their blood type. I do.

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  3. Now you should do a check to see if you had that blue birthmark in a very sensitive place when you were born, the sign of Gengis and his merry men. If you did probably an innocent girl harvesting in the fields many years ago somewhere in an outpost of Europe met a Tartar gentleman on his horse who had not seen a woman for a few years and there you have your origins. Oh, how romantic. I have just normal A+. It seems this might be due to my Huguenot ancestors, but who knows. I think your blood group is much more interesting when you see the possibilities.

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    • It certainly makes an entertaining fantasy. My guess is you have exactly the right take on it. But maybe they fell in love and he didn’t go back with all the other Tartars and stayed for love!

      I actually did all this research last night. I had no idea what today’s prompt would be, but having spent a couple of hours last night trying to figure out how I got this blood type that is so rare among “my people,” I figured I might as well make some use of the research. It IS kind of interesting. I’m not sure what it proves, if it proves anything at all, but it’s interesting.

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    • It turns out that Genghis and the gang were so good at spreading their DNA around that more than 2/3 of infants are born with the Mongolian Blue Spot. I gather it disappears over the years, so I would not know if I had it … and my mom is long gone. Just interesting to speculate 🙂 It also appears in weird places like Polynesia, making it kind of unlikely that it came entirely from the Mongolian invaders, though that is certainly a more entertaining way to look at it.

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  5. I have O+ my first husband has AB+ our four kids have either O+, or A+, or B+. None of them have AB+ I know this because it interested me when they were born. Both the first husband and I are very much European stock (his family is mostly from Germany so far as I’ve been able to ascertain), so don’t ask me how he got his AB+ blood.

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  6. My twin told me that he’d read somewhere a few years ago that it is now thought many if not most people of European descent with type O blood are descended from someone who actually caught the Black Death (bubonic plague) but survived. Since the disease attacked the proteins on the red blood cells (those same proteins that make the cells type A or type B, type O if neither is present, or type AB if both are) the body getting rid of the proteins on its own — an epigenetic change — resulted in a person being type O when they’d previously been type A or B or whatever. (I remember this because WE’RE type O, and I made some fiction-related joke referring to the name he went by in his creatively anachronistic days… Anyway, the information stuck, even if I don’t have a link to the article right now.)

    The point is, if someone can BECOME type O through epigenetic change, it is far more difficult to map where that blood type originated, because anyone who contracted but survived a disease that can cause such a change (or had the change triggered by some other means) could have been some other type originally, but they’d pass on the O type — and ONLY the O type — to their children.

    (I’m probably explaining this wrong. Too early in the day for me. I really need to find that science article again, though, since I need it for a blog post I’ve been planning anyway.)

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    • At least one of the articles I read suggested that under very rare circumstances — usually involving a transfusion — blood type could change. They didn’t mention disease. But then again, this is a surprisingly vague area of knowledge. I thought there would be tons of information on this, but there isn’t much. Maybe if you are a researcher and have access to specific scientific and medical site, there’s a lot more. But for the general public, there is surprisingly little solid evidence. There’s a lot of information on what, but almost nothing on how or why.

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    • on one hand it does make sense tht if population with specific blood type was more successful at surviving plagues, viruses epidemics there would survival of the fittest type explanation without even getting into transfusion incompatibilities esp in times when transfusions were not regularly done ( although first attempt procedures date back centuries). There may even be climate advantages et al tht we can’t imagine. Infant survival would not have been an advantage for any but AB pos.

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      • Not only don’t I know why the various blood types evolved, I don’t think anyone else knows either. There’s a lot of speculation, but the answers have yet to be found. However, since some of us “pop up” with blood types that theoretically can’t show up given our parents, but we obviously are their kids — no one could look as much like my parents as I do and not BE theirs! — yet B+ shouldn’t happen. So there are recessives in bloodlines and I know, because I had heart surgery, that I also have some other untypical blood typing that would normally not even be checked, but major heart surgery in a really top hospital — they test and retest everything. They still can’t answer how come I’m a B+ in an A and O world.

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    • As pretty much everyone of European and Celtic descent are (or used to be), though as maps show, nowadays, there’s a little of everything everywhere. I should be type A or O. What intrigued me was that B is not common for my ethnicity or countries of origin.

      I get on a trail and I’m like a demented hound, I keep following the scent until I decide I’ve gotten as far as I can. I was just curious.

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  7. Thanks for the like — and interesting stuff about blood type. I knew mine once. I think it’s still on a card in my wallet. I do wish I had time for your google challenge, but right now everything else is lying around in messy piles as I focus everything on “My Father’s House,” except when I just can’t resist making a comment, or an effort to sell “Figs & Pomegranates & Special Cheeses.”

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    • I should not be B+. And they never believe me in the hospital. But, apparently, these things pop up from somewhere. Recessive? Complexly recessive? I think my mother was AB+. No idea what my father was, but there was some mid-Asian guy in there … maybe way, way back. Which answers at least one question about where at least one part of the family came from. Yes, it really IS interesting.

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  8. Hi Marilyn,
    I’m B+ like you. My mother is B+ and my father was A+. I don’t know what my maternal grandparents were. I’ve got five siblings. I know one sister is AB+ and one is O+. The others I don’t know. I’m of European descent, so very curious about this as well.

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    • Generally, as far as I can tell, the B group comes from central Asia, the Philippines, a few spots in Africa … and the middle east. The general belief is that the origin is probably Asia, but since we all come originally from Africa — all human seem to have started there — really hard to know. There are so many theories and basically, no proof of any kind. I like to think that the Mongol invaders hit an ancestor of mine, but that also just my personal romantic fantasy. I did as much research as I could do using open scientific papers. Probably someone with better access to scientific documents might make more progress. There isn’t nearly as much information about this as I expected. At least, not in the U.S. I think they’ve done more with it in Europe and Japan. But they don’t seem to have a lot more solid information. It’s a mystery.

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  9. 🙂 I am A- and I enjoyed this read a lot. I did not know about the distribution on the continents, and now thanks to you I know more. Some years ago there was a craze about eating according to your blood type. I researched what I am supposed to eat but it was all so very restricted. Back in that time I found out that B was mostly spread in Asia – I know that cause I wanted B type diet and I could only eat A. These were my concerns – not romantic story behind it 😀 When Pope John II was dying I found out from the media that he has a rare blood type A- just like me. That made me feel special :D. Thank you for this interesting post, Marilyn.

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    • There’s a huge amount more, but it gets really obscure. This is about as far as I could go without a medical license! But yes, it really IS interesting. There’s a lot more research going on and I expect we will all learn more pretty soon.

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  10. Dear Marilyn, thank you for curious information to ponder on. I deal with history, so this idea to compare the blood types is an interesting approach to learn some new facts about us.
    Best wishes,
    Maria

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  11. Aha! I have another theory. You knew I might! Your recent stories of being scammed lead me to a different hypothesis: B+ was the type of Abel, the biblical archetype of victimization. You’re carrying forward the blood that still cries out from the ground to YHWH.😱🤓

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