B+ AND ME: BLOOD TYPES AROUND THE WORLD – Marilyn Armstrong

A few years ago, I got to thinking about blood type. I wondered how come I have 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.

It might mean I have some tidbit of Asian ancestry. Genghis Khan made serious inroads into Europe. Who knows where the seeds of his army were left?

Blood Type A: Central and Eastern Europe
Blood Type A: Central and Eastern Europe

The incidence of type B is low amongst Jews. Low everywhere, but 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. Blood types do mutate and occasionally even change completely following a transfusion.

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.

Blood type B: Asia
Blood type B: Asia

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, the 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. In the Middle East, the ultimate melting pot, all the major blood types are more or less evenly divided in the population.

If this shows some kind of migratory pattern for our ancestors, no one can prove it. Not yet, anyway, but they are working on it. The Middle East is the land pathway between Africa, Europe, and Asia, so it makes sense that many types of people might make their homes there.

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 certain of exactly what.

One of the possibilities of my “B” blood type is that my father was mistakenly typed and rather than A, was actually AB. But the truth is that blood types do sometimes pop up unexpectedly. There are lots of recessive traits lingering in us. My B+ blood has a number of unique qualities, which is why I have a blood donor card that specifies the unique other qualities of my blood.

In fact, the blood types we know – O, A, AB, B – in both positive and negative forms are not the whole of blood-typing. It gets a lot more complicated than most people realize, which is why there are whole hospitals dedicated to dealing with blood.

I think eventually blood typing will be one of the many ways we trace the movements of our Neolithic ancestors. Maybe even pre-Neolithic.

23 thoughts on “B+ AND ME: BLOOD TYPES AROUND THE WORLD – Marilyn Armstrong”

  1. It’s an interesting subject, isn’t it? There certainly doesn’t appear to be a pattern that we can recognise so far but maybe one day when we know more about it we may be able to trace our origins a bit more accurately. My blood is O Negative and I used to be a blood donor for many years when we lived in Adelaide.
    The so-called study into blood types you mentioned reminded me of my blonde cousin and me as children when she decided that she must be descended from Anglo Saxons and I must be of Roman origins because of my dark hair. I don’t know if she was implying that her side of the family was better, I just took it as we were different. We were about nine and seven at the time and learning about the history of Britain at school.

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    1. DNA testing notwithstanding, we really DON’T know where or who we come from. That there are all recessive genes attached to our blood groupings for which we cannot account is like a “taste” of something, but what? B+, while not rare, is VERY rare amongst Jews. It’s what got me interested in the subject. What’s even more interesting is how little is written about this. Unless you are a doctor and can prove it, most of the sites that deal with this are locked up. I’m sure there’s research being done and I hope someday they will tell us about it.

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  2. My whole family 15 members all type 0, but my eldest sister bornin1947 type B. Curiously like you, she search and research my country 80% Chinese are type0. B+And Her is rare type B and many developments of cancer cells. Is this true?

    On Thu, 18 Apr 2019, 12:12 PM Serendipity Seeking Intelligent Life

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    1. I have a blood card which explains that in addition to the B+, there are a number of other sub-sets of oddities in the blood. Why? No one has ever explained anything about it to me. I’m not sure they know the answer!

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    1. I think we mostly don’t know ANYTHING about it. We can “type it” but we don’t understand why I am B+ in a family where I shouldn’t be — and there’s not a chance that I’m someone else’s kid because I look just like the rest of the family — REALLY strong physical resemblances. Someday, we’ll know more, but right now … I don’t think we know more now than we did 5 years ago when I first started trying to find information.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m “O” and prior to the worsening of my diabetes, I donated blood and platelets as often as I could. Now my blood is unacceptable apparently. Hubby was the rarest type AB-. He called the folks at the American Red Cross “vampires” because they were always after him to donate. I told him I thought it was his duty, because folks out there need that type of blood…but I think his fear that they’d discover his ‘secret’ (addiction to pot) kept him from being more willing. He was an organ donor and after he died, although most of his organs were damaged by his long illness, his eyes (the corneas any way) went to give someone else sight. I think he’d have been pleased.

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