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Blood groups and ageusia in╖Indians of Northern Alberta.

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BLOOD GROUPS AND AGEUSIA IN*INDIANS O F
KORTHERN ALBERTA
G. ALBTN MATSON
Department 0f Bncteriologg and Pathotogg, Sckoo1 of Medicine,
University of Utah, Salt Lake City
The original observations of Matson ('33) and of Matson
and Shrader ('33) on the Blackfeet and Blood Tribes of
American Indians revealed a surprising distribution of the
four blood groups among them. Whereas a high percentage
distribution of 0 had previously been believed to be characteristic of all putatively full blood Indians (Coca and
Deibert, '23, and Snyder, '26), the Blackfeet and Blood Tribes
were observed to have a similarly high preponderance (76.5%)
of group A.
These studies were later extended and the blood group distribution among other tribes 'known to be related to the
Montana Blackfeet was investigated (Levine, Matson and
Schrader, '35; Matson et al., '36; and Matson, '38). I n all,
blood from 688 putatively full blood individuals of the Blackfeet and related tribes has been examined. Of these 20.2%
belong to group 0, 79.07% to group A, none to group B,
and only 0.73% to group AB. These findings suggested that,
contrary to former speculation concerning the origin of
Indians, the Blackfeet and related tribes did not separate
from the rest of the human family before the A isoantigen
developed in the race, and that at one time these Indians
were in all probability a pure group A people and that 0 has
been introduced by crossing with other tribes and the white
man.
This work was partly supported by a grant froin the University of Utah
research fund.
263
264
G. ALBIN MATSON
This surprisingly high incidence of A among the Blackfeet
and related tribes raised the question as to the distribution
of the blood groups among Indians on reservations contiguous
to the Blackfeet. Accordingly a preliminary study was made
among putatively full blood Indians of the Flathead, Stony,
Sarcee, and Cree tribes in Montana and Alberta (Matson, '38).
I n all, 182 were examined. Of these 72.53% were 0, 25.27%
were A, 1.1%were B, and 1.1%were AB.
The following is a report of the continuation of this study
among a larger number of Cree Indians and among the Beaver
and Slave Indians as well. All of these Indians are located
in Northern Alberta on reservations north of the Blackfeet.
A t the same time another hereditary character, namely the
taste deficiency to p-ethoxy-phenyl-thio-urea was investigated.
This substance, studied originally by Fox ('32), Blakeslee
et al. ('32, '32, '31) and by Snyder ('32) tastes intenselybitter to some individuals, whereas others cannot taste it at
all. Furthermore, the ability to taste the substance is herediary, tasters being dominant over non-tasters. It has further
been observed that the distribution of tasters and non-tasters
varies in different races. Thus, whereas among whites the
ratio of tasters to non-tasters is approximately 2 to 1, among
Indians Levine and Anderson ('32) found 93.9% to be bittertasters and Matson ( '38) found bitter-tasters among five tribes
in Montana and Alberta to the extent of 90% or more.
EXPERIMENTAL
A few drops of blood were collected from the finger of each
individual and diluted in vials containing Rous solution. The
cell suspensions were then examined f o r the A and B isoantigens with the aid of homologous a and p sera.
The results of these tests are shown in table 1on the following page.
The results shown in table 1 agree with our earlier fiiidiiigs
among Indians not related to the Blackfeet, namely a high
percentage of group 0. These findings among the Beaver
Indians do not agree with those of Grant ('36) who reports
165
121
Cree
(Wabaska)
Cree (Little
Red River)
451
58
70
Total Cree
Beaver
(Boyer River
Band at Eleske)
Slave
(Upper Hay
River)
(Long Lake)
20
43
Cree
(Vermillion)
Cree
102
NUYBEB
EXAMINEE
Cree
(Whitefish Lake
TRIBES
-
TdBLE 1
AB
47
45
336
16
103
114
28
75
?umbel
67.11
77.59
74.5
80.00
85.13
69.09
65.12
73.53
23
12
105
2
16
50
11
26
32.86
20.69
23.38
10.00
13.55
30.30
25.58
25.49
0
1
9
2
2
1
3
1
0.00
0
0
1
2.00
1.72
0
0
0
1
0
10.00
1.65
0.61
6.98
0.98
0.00
0.00
0.22
0.00
0.00
0.00
3.32
0.0
een gumbei 'er ceni ?umber Per cen gumber 'er cen
- - -- - - Per
-B
DISTRIBUTION OF BLOOD GROUPS
3.181
0.110
0.125
0.0512
0.068
0.165
0.132
0.137
P
0.932
0.831
0.807
0.557
r
0.880
0.863
0.819
--
1.00
0.009
0.010
0.0512 0.894
0.009
0.004
0.030
0.005
GENE FREQUENCIES
Distribulioii o f blood groups among putatively full-blood Iiidians in Noitlrern Alberta
,,
P
1.000
0.999
2
0.998
cn
Q,
N
vl
F2
5
zb-
z
0
b-
2
2
b$
0
U
0
0.9964
0.999
1.000
0.969
0.999
~ + q + r
U M OF GYNI:
REQUENCIES
266
a.
ALBIN MATSON
52.5% 0 and 47.57% A among a small group of forty Beaver
Indians on the Peace River.
I n testing for the taste reaction a few crystals of p-ethoxyphenyl-thio-urea were placed on the tongue of the subject with
the aid of an applicator. After time enough to taste the reaction had elapsed the taste reaction was recorded. The
observations made on the frequency of ageusia are recorded
in table 2.
From the table it is seen that in all these Indians the
incidence of tasters was above 90%. This agrees with our
(Matson, ’38) earlier findings for other putatively full-blood
TABLE 2
Distribution o f tasters and non-tasters among Cree, Beaver, and Slave Indians
of Northern Alberta
DISTRIBUTION
TaIBE
Cree (Whitefish Lake)
Cree (Ft. Vermillion)
Cree (Wabaska)
Cree (Little Red R i w r )
Beaver (Eleske)
Slave (Upper Hay
River)
NUMBER
EXAMINED
Non-tasters
Number
Numher
Per cent
102
43
165
121
58
100
42
162
118
57
98.04
97.67
98.19
97.52
98.28
1.96
2.33
1.81
2.48
1.72
70
64
91.43
8.57
Per cent
Indians and with those of Levine and Anderson ( ’32). Nearly
all the “tasters” reported a bitter taste. To sixteen, however, it tasted sweet and to three salty.
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS
Putatively full-blood Indians on reservations north of the
Blackfeet’in Northern Alberta differ entirely from the Blackfeet in the distribution of the four blood groups. Whereas
the Blackfeet and related tribes show a high preponderance
of group A, the Cree, Beaver, and Slave Indians are predominantly group 0. In the taste reactions to p-ethoxy-phenylthio-urea there appears to be no appreciable difference among
Indian tribes that have been examined, showing more than
a 90% incidence of tasters.
BLOOD GROUPS A N D AGEUSIA IN I F D I A N S
267
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
I wish to acknowledge my indebtedness to the following for
their assistance and cooperation in making it possible to obtain blood specimens: Dr. Harold W. McGill, Director of
Indian Affairs, Ottawa, Ont.; Mr. N. P. L’heureux, Indian
Agent, Driftpile, Alberta; Dr. E. J. Conroy, Edmonton,
Alberta; and to the Fathers and Sisters who were so cooperative and hospitable at the various Catholic missions we
visited.
LITERATURE CITED
BLAKESLEE,A. F. 1932 Genetics of sensory thresholds: taste for phenylthiocarbamide. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci., XVIII, 120.
BLAKESLEE,A. F., AND A. L. Fox 1932 Our different taste worlds. J. Heredity,
XXIII, 97.
BLAKESLEE,A. F.,AND M. R. SALMON1931 Odor and taste blindness. Eugen.
News, XVI, 105.
COCA,A. F., AND OLIN DEIBERT 1923 A study of the occurrence of the blood
groups among the American Indians. J. Immunol., V I I I , 487.
Fox, ARTHUR L. 1932 The relationship between chemical constitution and
taste. Proc. Nat. A c d . Sci., XVIII, 115.
GRANT,J. C. B. 1936 Anthropometry of the Beaver, Sekani, and Carrier Indians.
Bull. 81, Nat. Mus. of Canada.
LEVINE, P., AND A. S. ANDERSON 1932 Observations on taste blindness. Science,
LXXV, 497.
LEVINE,P., 0. A. MATSON AND H. F. SCHRADEB
1935 Distribution of bood
groups and agglutinogen M among Indian “Blackfeet ” and “Blood
Tribes.” Proc. SOC. Exp. Biol. Med., XXXIII, 297.
MATSON,G. A. 1933 Unexpected differences in distribution of blood groups
among American Indians. Proc. Soc. Exp. Biol. Med., XXX, 1380.
1938 Blood groups and ageusia in Indians of Montana and Alberta.
Am. J. Phys. Anthrop., XXIV, 81.
1933 Blood grouping among the “BlackMATSON, G. A., AND H. F. SCHRADER
feet ” and “Blood Tribes’ ’ of American Indians. J. Immunol.,
XXV, 155.
MATSON,G. A., P. LEVINE
AND 15. F. BCHRADER 1936 Distribution of the subgroups of A and M and N agglutinogens among the Blackfeet Indians.
Proc. SOC.Exp. Med., XXXV, 46.
SNYDER,
L. H. 1926 Human blood groups, their inheritance and racial significance. Am. J. Phys. Anthrop., IX, 233.
1932 The inheritance of taste deficiency in man. Ohio J. Science,
XXXII, 436.
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