The gene for blood group B first appeared in significant numbers somewhere around 10 to 15,000 B.C., the tail end of the Neolithic period, in the area of the Himalayan highlands now part of present day Pakistan and India. Like the environmental conditions which spawned the advent of group A, the development of blood group B was in large part a response to changes in the environment. But unlike A, which began to supplant group O as a response to new types of infections, then thrived as a result of the new dietary changes, group B appears to have been more of a response to climatic changes, followed by a different set of dietary adaptations. Life in the tropical flat savannahs of eastern Africa gave way to a harsher existence as the Cro-Magnon hunters migrated to the colder, drier, mountainous areas of the subcontinent and the barren endless plains of the central Asian steppes.
It is possible that blood group B may have been the only blood group with the capabilities to survive in such a harsh environment. There is some science behind this theory: For example, variability in the levels of the hormones testosterone, estradiol, and somatotropic hormones in mountaineers of the Pamirs and Kirghizes was examined in relation to their place of residence in terms of elevation above sea level. At high altitudes blood O group had had lower concentrations of estradiol and testosterone, blood group B the highest. (13)
Under times of famine, two biologic functions diminish: First is the ability to fend off infection. And the second is the ability to reproduce. Essentially omnivores, group B may have been the only blood group whose immune systems were capable of functioning with a diet described by one Roman historian as “soured milk and mare’s blood.” In addition to having the ability to survive pestilence, blood group B women may be more fertile than the A and O counterparts (14) and may begin to menstruate earlier. (15)
Higher concentrations of the group B gene exists in direct relationship with the demographics of the pre-existing caste system. Since the caste system was the direct result of consecutive layers of foreign conquest, it appears that the B gene may have been introduced into the Indian subcontinent via conquest. (16) In a study among fourteen Hindu caste groups, besides Christian and Muslim populations of West Godavari District, Andhra Pradesh, India All the Hindu castes except Brahmin, Kshatriya and Reddy exhibited relatively higher frequency of group B over group A (24) In a study of ABO distribution along the Silk Route of Northwestern China a distinct increase of blood group B was seen, especially when those subjects of Mongolian extraction were compared to Caucasian. (25)
An almost continuous belt of mountainous terrain extends from the Urals in Russia to the Caucasus in Asia, and then onto the Pyrenees of southern France. This barrier split the migrations of the blood groups into two basic routes; a northern stream and a southern one. The invaders taking the southern approach became the ancestors of the Mediterranean people and western Europeans, and carried with them the gene for blood group A. The Ural Mountains prevented a large migration westwards from Asia, although small numbers of Caucasians entered eastern Europe, carrying with them the gene for blood group B that they picked up by intermingling with the Asian Mongolians. This barrier served to divide blood groups into a western group, A; and an eastern group, B.
Blood group B Mongolians continued to travel northward, toward present day Siberia. They developed a different culture, dependent on herding, and emphasizing the use of cultured dairy products. These nomadic people were expert horsemen, and wandered extensively over the Siberian flat lands, the great Steppes. These nomads must have been compact, tightly knit, and genetically homogenous. A recent study using sophisticated polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology determined the ABO groupings of on the dried remains of nine human mummies which had been discovered at Taklamakan desert in 1912. Of the nine, eight were group B. (17) At various times they penetrated large swaths of Eastern Europe, at one time reaching as far as the gates of Vienna, Austria. The Mongolians were certainly responsible for introducing the gene for blood group B into the eastern European populations.
Two basic blood group B population patterns emerged out of the Neolithic revolution in Asia: an agrarian, relatively sedentary population located in the south and east, and the wandering nomadic societies of the north and west. This schism stands as an important cultural remnant in Southern Asian cuisine�the use of dairy products remains practically nonexistent. To the Asian culture, dairy products are considered the food of the barbarian.
In the Middle-East it appears that tribes of Semitic group B nomads may have infiltrated into pre-existing Neolithic cultures, both passively and aggressively. Semitic peoples called the Hyksos were foreign rulers of Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period. Exactly who those foreign rulers were is not known, but it is assumed they were Asiatics. The Egyptian term for Hyksos merely means “rulers of foreign lands.” It was once thought that foreign rule in Egypt would have necessarily entailed a violent overthrow, but instead there is the appearance of a peaceful takeover. More likely, the numbers of these foreigners slowly increased in the Delta region until they became a powerful political force. Under the rule of the Hyksos, the continuity of Egyptian culture and ritual was preserved, indicating that these foreign kings had become fully Egyptianized. Persian suzerainty may have also added large amount of B gene to the upper-class Egyptian gene pool, since a third century BC Egyptian mummy, ‘Iset Iri Hetes’ was recently typed and found to be group B. (18) Interestingly, Africa in general (independent of any racial categorization) has a higher incidence of group B than Europe or the Middle East. Whether this is the result of intermingling or the original B gene pool is unknown, however it does imply that the links between ancient Egypt and sub-Saharan Africa are deeper and older than generally recognized.
The blood group characteristics of the various Jewish populations have long been of interest to anthropologists. As a general rule, regardless of their nationality or race, there is a trend towards higher than average rates of blood group B. The Ashkenazim of Eastern Europe and the Sephardim of the Middle East and Africa, the two major sects, share high rates of group B blood and bear no discernible differences. Babylonian Jews differ considerably from the present-day Arab population of Iraq, in that they have a high frequency overall of group A, and an even higher frequency of group B blood.
The Jews of the Tafilalet Oasis in Morocco, an ancient community, now dispersed, also had a high frequency of the gene for blood group B, around twenty nine percent of the total society.
The Karaites, who have an extraordinarily high rate of blood group B, are members of a Jewish sect founded in Babylonia in the eighth century A.D. A singular community of Karaites continues to exist in Lithuania, and they were known to have migrated as a body from the Crimea. The Karaites consider themselves Jews by religion only, not by race. This claim of racial separation was accepted by the Nazi authorities, who controlled Lithuania during the Second World War. Because of this, the Karaites were spared the horrors of the Holocaust. (6)
To modern day anthropologists, blood group B continues to this day to be an “Eastern” blood group. It is found in high numbers among Asians such as the Chinese, Indians, and Siberians. In Europe, blood group B is more frequently found in Hungarians, Russians, Poles, and other eastern Europeans. It is not found in large numbers among western Europeans. Among pre-Neolithic people, such as the Basques and Amerindians, group B is practically nonexistent.
Of all the ABO blood groups, B shows the most clearly defined geographic distribution. Stretching as a great belt across the Eurasian plains and down to the Indian subcontinent, blood group B is found in increased numbers from Japan, Mongolia, China and India, up to the Ural Mountains. From there westward, the percentages fall until a low is reached at the extreme western end of Europe.
Blood group B is a distinctly non-Indo-European blood type. In Europe, only two areas with a high rate of blood group B appear: one among the group of non-Indo-European peoples known as the Finno-Ugrics (such as the Hungarians and the Finns), the other among the central Slavic peoples (Czechs, Southern Poles, and Northern Serbs). The Viking invaders may have also had a relatively high percentage of B gene, since many of the towns of Britain and western Europe that are linked to the coast by internal lines of communication such as large rivers, have a disproportional amount of blood group B when compared to the surrounding territory.
The small numbers of blood group B in old and Western Europeans represents western migration by Asian nomadic peoples. This is most clearly seen in the easternmost Western Europeans, the Germans and Austrians, who have an unexpectedly high incidence of blood group B blood compared to their western neighbors. The highest frequency of blood group B in Germans occurs in the area around the upper and middle Elbe River, an important natural boundary between “civilization” and “barbarism” in ancient and medieval times.
Modern subcontinental Indians, a Caucasian people, have some of the highest frequencies of blood group B in the world. Interestingly, among the Asiatics, they and the Japanese are the only areas that show high frequencies of blood group A as well. The northern Chinese and Koreans have high rates of blood group B, and lower rates of blood group A.
Nowadays, blood group B accounts for about ten percent of the world�s population.”
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