Blood Groups of Roms (Gypsies) in Czechoslovakia I. BERNASOVSK~, J. SUCHP,~ K. BERNASOVSKA AND T. VARGOVA P. J. Safarik University, KoSice, Czechoslovakia, 1 Charles University, Prague, Czechoslovakia K E Y WORDS Blood groups Roms (Gypsies) . Czechoslovakia. ABSTRACT Blood groups in 2,935 Fbms (Gypsies) of East Slovakia show the following frequencies of phenotypes and genes: A,A,BO phenotypes: A l 32.91%,A,-2.42%,B-25.21%,O-30.15%,A,B-8.459/,AA,B-O0.85%, A l -0.2363, Az - 0.0217, B - 0.1929, 0 -0.5491. MN phenotypes: M 27.16%, MN-51.60%, N-221.23%; m-0.5297, n - 0.4703. R H phenotypes: R h positive -89.54 % , Rh negative - 10.46%; Rh - (D) - 0.6766, Rh (d) 0.3234. The frequencies are contrasted with those of other inhabitants, non-Roms of East Slovakia. Various lines of evidence, especially linguistic (Grellmann, 1787; Pott, 1845) prove that Roms (Gypsies) came from Central India where as the socially weaker part of the population, they yielded to pressure of stronger and economically more developed strains. Obliged to look for a livelihood i n the north of the country they came to Punjab. Owing to the Arab invasions they left India during the seventh and eighth centuries and made their way to Europe through the Balkans and through North Africa. Reports of their stay in the domain of present Czechoslovakia appeared i n the fourteenth century (Horvathova, '64; Such+, '68a). Although traditionally considered nomads the Roms up to the present time have nearly all been settlers (Suchy and Hubschmannova, '74). Despite the fact that Roms have been living in h4iddle Europe for several centuries, they have maintained a very marked biological and cultural distinctness. Previous research workers studied the Roms in Czechoslovakia from the physical and anthropological point of view (Suchy, '64, '68a,b, '73; Benek, '68; Suchy and Mala, '69; Mala and Such+, '70; Bernasovsky and Bernasovska, '75; Bernasovska et al., '75). Frequencies of the blood groups A1A2B0, MN and Rh i n Roms living in Czechoslovakia not previously reported are the subject of this communication. AM. J . PHYS ANTHROP.,45: 277-280 MATERIALS AND METHODS According to the report of the Federal Statistical Office 226,468 Roms lived i n Czechoslovakia i n 1968; of 88,943 in East Slovakia, we examined 2,935. The following reagents were used for blood typing: For ABO, standard diagnostic sera (OTH KoSice); for subgroups Al and An, anti-Al, anti-H lectin sera (USOL, Prague); for MN, anti-M and anti-N sera (USOL, Prague); and for Rh, anti-Rho (D) and incomplete anti-D" serum (Immuno, Vienna). Agglutinins in serum were determined using known blood cells. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION The phenotype and gene frequencies of the A I A 2 B 0 , MN and Rh systems of Roms from East Slovakia are given in table 1. According to ~2 values the observed frequencies agree with those expected under the Hardy-Weinberg law. The frequencies of these blood types in non-Roms of East Slovakia are as shown. Statistically significant differences are more group B (P < 0,001) and fewer subgroups AI,A2,A2Bin Roms (P < 0.001, P < 0.05, and P < 0.05, respectively). No statistically significant differences in MN types were found between Roms and non-Roms in East Slovakia. The high freI I n honor of the memory of Prof. J . Suchy, who died August 28, 1975. 277 278 I. BERNASOVSKY, J . SUCHY, K. BERNASOVSKA AND T. VARGOVA TABLE 1 The p e r c e n t a g e f r e q u e n r y of p h e n o t y p e s a n d g e n e f r e q u e n c y of blood g r o u p s y s t e m s AlAzBO, M N a n d Rh in Roms, r o m p a r e d w i t h Slovak non-Roma from the East Slovnkzn district Phenotypes No Ai A2 B 0 A1B AzB Number M MN N Number R h o + (D) Rho - id) Number Rom s Present study (Percent) Slovaks Smalik ('65) (Percent) 966 71 740 885 248 25 2,935 32.91 2.42 25.21 30.15 8.45 0.85 36.94 2 3.49 1 19.69 2 30.93 7.61 1.34 22468 110 209 86 405 27.16 51.60 21.23 28.16 53.54 18.30 1541 2,628 30 7 2,935 89.54 10.46 85.81 14.19 22468 Genes 0.2363 0.0217 0.1929 0.5491 0.5297 0.4703 0.6766 0.3234 A1 A2 B 0 m n D d 1 p S 0.05. 2 p 0.2553 0.0332 0.1553 0.5561 0.5493 0.4507 0.6223 0.3767 < 0.001 quency of Rh positive in Roms is significantly different from non-Roms(P < 0.001). The seroanthropological research on Roms is the subject of study of many authors. Early works describe only ABO systems (Mourant et al., '58). Later works added the Rh and k1N systems and subgroups of the ABO system (CaLal et al., '51; Beckman et al., '65; HoEevar, '65; Rex-Kiss et al.,'73). Our A l A 2 B 0 , M N and Rh results i n Roms agree with data of Rex-Kiss et al. ('73) on the Hungarian Roms, but other foreign groups differ considerably. These discrepancies may be explained by the fact that the foreign Roms form small isolated groups consisting of few families i n which gene frequency could be affected by random genetic drift. Serological proof of a n Indian origin of Roms was shown by many authors (Verzkr and Weszeczky, '21; Ely, '61; Beckman et al., '65; Gdikova et al., '69; Rex-Kiss et al., '73). The increased frequencies of genes B and Rho (D) in Czechoslovak Roms gave evidence for their Indian origin. Our observed frequencies of these genes axe lower than the Indian data (Boyd and Boyd, '54; Mourant et al., '58; Ghosh, '69) probably due to increased mixing with the recent decline i n segregation and more assimilation of Roms. LITERATURE CITED Beckman, L., J. Takman and K. E. Arfors 1965 Distributions of blood and serum groups in a Swedish Gypsy population. Acta Genet. Basel, 15: 134-139. BeneB, J. 1968 Zum physischen Charakter einer envachsenen Zigeunerpopulation (240 Manner) i n der Slowakei (Tschekoslowakei), Anthropologie, 6: 3-93. Bernasovska, K., I. Bernasovsky. K . Poradovsky and A. Frie 1975 Weights a n d lengths of mature new-born gypsy children i n East Slovakia (in Slovak). t s . Gynek., 40: 595-598. Bernasovsky, l., and K. Bernasovska 1975 Low birth weight of new-born gypsy children in the district KoSice (in Slovakia). Sbornik PdF U K Praha - Biologie, 4: 31-34. Boyd, W. C., and L. G. Boyd 1954 The blood groups in Pakistan. Am. J. Phys Anthrop., 1 2 : 393406. Cazal, P., R. Graafland a n d M. Matheeu 1951 Les groups sanguines chez les Gitans d e France. Blood Transfus., Lisbon, 4th Congr., 34&356. Elv. B. 1961 Les groupes saneuins de 47 tsiganes d e la region P a r k e & e . Bull. Mitd. Soc. d'Anthrop., 1 1 : 233-237. Galikova, J., M Vilimkova, V. Ferak and A. Mayerova 1969 Haptoglobin types i n Gypsies from Slovakia (Czech.). Hum. Hered., 19: 380-485. Ghosh, A. K. 1969 ABO Blood group frequencies of India, Pakistan and the adjoining areas as a whole. Man i n India, 49: 372-377. Grellmann, H. M. G . 1787 Historischer Versuch uber die Z g e u n e r betreffend die Lehensart und Verssung, Sitten und Schicksale dieses Volkes seit seiner Erscheinung i n Europa und dessen Ursprung. Gottingen. Hoeevar, M. 1965 Die Verteilung der Blutgruppen bei einem Zigeunerisolat. Proc. 10th Congr, Int. Soc. Blood Transf.. Stockholm, 312-319. HorvAthovB, E. 1964 Gypsies i n Slovakia (in Slovak), SAV Bratislava. MalB, H., a n d J . Suchy 1970 The anthropological research of Gypsy children and youth i n Czechoslovakia. Glasnik AntropoloBkog drusstva Jugoslavie, 7: 39-63. Mourant, A. E., A. C. Koper and K. DomaniewskaSobczak 1958 The ABO Blood groups. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford. Pott, A. 1845 Die Zigeunerin Europa und Asien, in HorvBthovB, E. 1964 Gypsies i n Slovakia (in Slovak), SAV Bratislava. Rex-Kiss, B., L. Szabo and E. Hartmann 1973 ABO, MN, Rh blood groups, Hp types and Hp level, Gm (1) factor investigations on the Gypsy population of Hungary. Human Biology, 4 5 : 41-61. BLOOD GROUPS OF ROMS (GYPSIES) IN CZECHOSLOVAKIA Smalik, S. 1965 Percentuai occurrence of blood groups of inhabitants in East Slovakia (in Slovakia). Prakt. Lek., 4 5 ; 636-639. Suchy, J . 1964 Untersuchungen a n Ggeunerkindern i n West- und Nordbohmen. Arztliche Jungenkunde, 55: 151-158. 1968a Die Zigeuner. In: Rassengeschichte der Menschheit, K. Saller 1 . Lieferung 185-221, R. Oldenbourg Verlag; Mtnchen-Wien. 1968b Bodily development of gypsy children in Czechoslovakia. Anthropologie, 6: 73-78. 1973 Thedevelopment ofGypsy children 2 79 i n changing living conditions. IXth International Congress of Anthropological and Ethonological Sciences, Chicago, 208: 1-10, Suchy, J., a n d M. Huhschmannova 1974 Some general ideas, Current Anthropology, 1 5 : 116 a n d 203. Suchy, J . , a n d H. MalA 1969 The physical features of Gypsy youth. Rivista di Anthropologia, Roma, 61 : 31-43. VerzBr, F., a n d 0. Weszecky 1921 Rassenbiologische Untersuchungen mittels Isohamagglutininen. Biochem. Zschr., 126: 33-39.