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Early Evidence of AB Blood

November 14, 2012

imageGabriel writes:

Regarding the controversy about how old AB blood is, Charles Freeman supports the idea that until 9th century this type of blood did not exist because there are no evidences of mingling between A linages (EUROPEAN) and B linages (Asian) before that date.

In this peer-reviewed journal a recent study shows that by iron age there is now an evidence of such a mixture [: Tracing the Origin of the East-West Population Admixture in the Altai Region (Central Asia) by Mercedes González-Ruiz, Cristina Santos, Xavier Jordana2, Marc Simón, Carles Lalueza-Fox, Elena Gigli, Maria Pilar Aluja, Assumpció Malgosa].  http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0048904

I think this study may represent a contribution to the debate.

I have added the abstract here:

A recent discovery of Iron Age burials (Pazyryk culture) in the Altai Mountains of Mongolia may shed light on the mode and tempo of the generation of the current genetic east-west population admixture in Central Asia. Studies on ancient mitochondrial DNA of this region suggest that the Altai Mountains played the role of a geographical barrier between West and East Eurasian lineages until the beginning of the Iron Age. After the 7th century BC, coinciding with Scythian expansion across the Eurasian steppes, a gradual influx of East Eurasian sequences in Western steppes is detected. However, the underlying events behind the genetic admixture in Altai during the Iron Age are still unresolved: 1) whether it was a result of migratory events (eastward firstly, westward secondly), or 2) whether it was a result of a local demographic expansion in a ‘contact zone’ between European and East Asian people. In the present work, we analyzed the mitochondrial DNA lineages in human remains from Bronze and Iron Age burials of Mongolian Altai. Here we present support to the hypothesis that the gene pool of Iron Age inhabitants of Mongolian Altai was similar to that of western Iron Age Altaians (Russia and Kazakhstan). Thus, this people not only shared the same culture (Pazyryk), but also shared the same genetic east-west population admixture. In turn, Pazyryks appear to have a similar gene pool that current Altaians. Our results further show that Iron Age Altaians displayed mitochondrial lineages already present around Altai region before the Iron Age. This would provide support for a demographic expansion of local people of Altai instead of westward or eastward migratory events, as the demographic event behind the high population genetic admixture and diversity in Central Asia.

  1. Charles Freeman
    November 14, 2012 at 10:01 am

    Well my actual point was that there was no evidence of AB blood groups that I knew of before 900 Ad. This study does not seem to provide any.You can have mingling without a self- sustaining new genetic group emerging for our purposes it is the early AB evidence that we are after .

    • domenico
      November 15, 2012 at 4:51 am

      Mr Freeman you write in one of your articles that AB ” is the newest blood-group in evolutionary terms and results from the mingling of Caucasian blood-group A and Mongoloid blood-group B. At first such a mutation would have been very rare and is virtually unknown before AD 900″.

      As you are an historian and not an expert scientist anthropologist or evolutionary biologist, could you give me your source for this statements? where have you read that there was a ‘mutation’ around AD 900 and that AB group resulted from the mingling of Caucasian and Mongoloid?

  2. Gabriel
    November 14, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    Charles, please note that a whole people -self-sustaining genetic group- (the Pazyryks) has been identified as having genes from both European and Asian lineages.
    The most important difficulty regarding the AB blood being old, is not based on an extensive record of blood groups covering human history in which a new group (AB) distinctively appears in the 9th Century. Unfortunately, that database does not exist and so far, we only have a few unconnected studies here and there corresponding to different moments of history.
    In the absence of such an extensive database, the most important difficulty about AB being old is that until now, the oldest evidences of mixtures between European and Asian population dated back to 9th-10th century in Hungary.
    The relevance of this paper is that this indirect argument and -the most important difficulty I have come through so far- can now be ruled out and at least, we have here an important example dating back to the Iron Age.
    So now, we cannot say how old is the AB blood group, but certainly other arguments -not put forward so far- should be used because, certainly there were mixtures of lineages before 900 AD in Hungary and after this paper, nothing is against dating back AB blood type (or any group like O) to at least 1st century or before.

    • Charles Freeman
      November 15, 2012 at 2:48 am

      The possibility is there but in the present state of knowledge the presumption is that an AB blood sample dates from after AD 900, That presumption may,of course, be overthrown,

      • Gabriel
        November 15, 2012 at 4:58 am

        Which are the foundations for this presumption? Honestly, I think we don’t have any. The present state of knowledge by no ways allows supporting this presumption.

  3. daveb of wellington nz
    November 15, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    Charles still clings to the myth that there was no AB blood group before the Altai mountains were crossed, and until Asians and Europeans commingled in Hungary around 900 AD. He should discard it, but it seems to be the one thing that enables him to doubt the Shroud’s authenticity, so that is a problem for him,

    An inspection of any reputable table of distribution of blood groups reveals how tenuous a basis this myth has. Although A group is dominant in Europe, both A and B groups are found throughout Asia in comparable proportions, and AB is significant. Also even populations that have long been isolated have AB occurring (Ainu and Kalmuks).

    If the Shroud is authentic, then it originated in the Middle East, and mid-European.blood group distributions are irrelevant. Percentage distributions of O, A, B, AB, groups are as follows: Arabs – 34, 31, 29, 6; Hindus – 32, 29, 28, 11; Tartars – 28, 30, 29, 13. One could go on, but check the figures on web-site: http://www.bloodbook.com/world-abo.html

    Curiously, NZ Maoris and other Polynesian races are believed to have originated in China, where there are now significant percentages of all blood groups, with significant differences between Cantonese and Pekingese, yet NZ Maori remain dominantly O and A.

    I would remind readers that Alexander the Great arrived in the Indus Valley in 327 BC, and it would not be surprising then if AB blood group was common in the Middle East in New Testament times.

    Present blood group classification orignates in 1901, and there could have been little interest in typing of blood groups before then.

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