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.