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Blood Type and Race


What accounts for the correlation between blood type and race?


There's no direct interaction between race and blood type; rather, they have essentially superimposed their own independent influences on human evolution and survival. For example, it's almost universal to find darker skin in tropical areas, for it is a basic defense against UV rays. Lighter-colored skin on the other hand is more resistant to frostbite. We have to be careful even using the term "race," because these are not genetic categories per se, but rather indistinct differences with respect to geography.

Blood type functions the same in laboratory conditions. Type O was really the only numerous type for many thousands of years, because it had two antibodies to fight against Type A and Type B, which gave it protection against very common antigens (bacteria, et cetera) in the environment. In the other hand, it appears Type O was at a disadvantage when came to infectious diseases people would get in concentrated areas such as cities -- i.e. cholera, bubonic plague, et cetera. It really was the combination of things like race and blood type that gave early anthropologists ways of analyzing societies. We know that Type O is most prevalent in more isolated societies -- Native Americans, Inuits, Basques, et cetera. We know that Type A is more prevalent in areas of longtime civilization -- Mediterranean, et cetera; Type B most prevalent in the Central Asiatic steppes. So each of the types had originally had a specific survival formula for a part geographic and environmental situation. Occasionally race and blood type do interact. Though not very numerous, I do see African Americans who are B in my practice. Obviously, intermingling has occurred, certainly more frequently in a country like the U.S. I noticed that Type B African Americans have more health problems -- with diabetes, heart disease, et cetera. Why? Well, one reason is if there is a rub between having a set of racial influences on physiology as a result of one environment and a set of effects as a result of blood type that are a response to a set of different geographical circumstances.

The Ask Dr. D'Adamo internet advice column ran from 1996 to 2009, at which time Dr. D'Adamo's teaching and programming responsibilities no longer allowed him to devote time and resources to directly answering visitor questions. However we've recently reorganized this treasure-trove of material and made it again available to his readership. He occasionally posts new entries. These are marked with a NEW tag.

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