Bulgarians&Macedonians are genetically the same
From: rafael@genetics.howard.utah.edu (Rafael Maldonado)
Newsgroups: soc.culture.bulgaria,alt.news.macedonia,alt.culture,macedonia
Subject: Re: Anthropological comparison between Bulgarians and Macedonians
Date: Tue, 19 Oct 1999 03:31:54 -0600
Organization: U of U

In article <3808B850.3A6D@uqah.uquebec.ca>, Tinko Eftimov <eftimov@uqah.uquebec.ca> wrote:

> I have some data concerning the blood tests needed in so
> much as contemporary Macedonians and Bulgarians are concerned:
> This is from a study by acad. Metodi Popov published in
> Bulgaria in 1959. The data is presented in one of the latest issues of
> the "Macedonia" newspaper, Sofia.
> The blood tests have shown the following results by blood
> groups:
> Group 0: 36.41% (Bul) vs. 37.17% (Mac)
> Group A: 40.85% (Bul) vs. 41.50% (Mac)
> Group B: 15.03% (Bul) vs. 13.2% (Mac)
> Group AB: 7.71% (Bul) vs. 7.97% (Mac)
> Groups A+AB/B+AN: 2.14% (Bul) vs. 2.33% (Mac)
> Here is some more data from anthropological measurements
> done in 1942. At that time all Macedonian and Bulgarian lands
> were united so all representatives were considered:
> Average Height: and other stuff...

Very intresting study! I would like to make a few comments on the substantive discussion in this threat. Without claming to be great authority in this area I do know a thing or two about Human Genetics. At the end I will also give some personal opinions...but first things first. I need to point out that for factual data I am refereing to below I used this book: Human Heredity (princiles and issues), 4th edition, 1997, editor M.R. Cummings. Unfortunately since this is textbook for undergraduates original references are not given.

Galina wrote:
~1. What are the fugures for neighboring states?
~2. Is there a geographic distribution of this data whithin either (or both
~) Macedonia and ublgaria such htat broad headed type O negatives tend to
~live in northeastern Bulgaria but short type As with long noses tend to
~live in southwestern?
~3. You do not separate as to positive or negative. For example, isn't O
~negative the oldest blood type in the world, croMagnon? And AB the newest,
~at only 5-7000 years old? But all are in the range of Alexander the
~Great's. What was his bloodtype, anyway? Even so, only two Os can give birth to an O. Whatever is
~A+AB/B+AN? Never heard of it, but then, I am not a phlebotomist.
~4. For all we know, the deviations in every category are either
~significant or insignificant within context of other comparisons. TO
~Greeks, for example, or to Serbs, or to Russians. ______________ and:
~I actually find this very interesting, along with what research I have read
~on the Mediterranean thalessemias (on the Mediterranean part of this,
~consider that Vlad Drakul IV had this blood disorder). I would like to see
~a breakdown of blood types in former Yugoslavia and among Albanians in
~general. Basques, for example, also have high rpedominance of type O so
~that would place them very ancient, but not necessarily in place. In a
~sense, the closing of the land bridge between America and Asia is marked by
~the antiquity of the type A blood which is most prevalent in WESTERN!!!!!!

Type B is mostly east of and south of the Elba in antiquity in ~Europe but also in the Middle East and mroe rpevalent in agrarian societies ~and AB supposedly arrived and spread from India and is a relatively recent ~mutation. Now, of course, people are so mixed that we find almost the same ~prevalence of blood types throughout the world with the exception of the ~Americas which, becuase of isolation, have a predominance of the ancient ~blood types. .... ~For example, common sense should tell you that in comparing the data for ~Macedonia with almost one quarter Albanian populace and comparing to ~Bulgaria with a very tiny Albanian populace, that you cannot be making any ~close comparisons unless you have a further breakdown by ethnicity (and ~then, a lot of people are mixed - consider your average Bulgarian "Turk", ~eh?).

Galina, I will sadly have to inform you that your knowledge on matters of Human Genetics is very poor. First, you apparently have no concept of phenotype vs. genotype. "Blood type" (A, B, AB, O) refers to phenotype, however, a person with B blood type could be of BB or BO genotype (A = AA or AO). Thus, AB "mutation" is simply combination of allele A and allele B (alleles are those things that you get one from you mother and one from your father) (by the way A,B and O are alleles of the same locus - meaning in our case that you could have only two of these alleles in any given individual). AB type is as old as the first time alleles A and B occurred in the same population (probably several hundred thousand years old). It is likely that the three blood type alleles arose before Homo Sapiens arose. The reason for this is that almost all African populations (the deepest branches of the human tree being in Africa) have all three alleles. Only isolated and usually small populations like the Basques (or American Indians) have lost (!) some alleles (usually B) due to "genetic drift" or "bottleneck" effects (too complicated to explain in one sentence).

Similarly, B blood type did not originate in Central Asia but due to the two effects mentioned above followed by population explosion it first became enriched in that population and subsequently with the great westward migration diffused into Europe (hence the European East-West B blood type gradient). In spite of you concerns, among the Balkan populations of today, there is significant (measurable) variation in blood type frequencies (let alone more distant populations).

On this background the results from the blood type comparisons between the populations of BG and MK are frankly stunning! Another result from genetic studies of interest to the readers of this thread. Researcher (international) have measured the allele frequencies from 19 different loci (very impressive!). They found that there is almost perfect correlation between genetic barriers and linguistic bounderies (BTW there is no genetic barrier between BG and MK or for that matter BG and SB). Of 31 genetic barriers found only two didn't correspond to linguistic bounderies. Guess what? One of those genetic barriers divides Greek speakers in northern Greece (Macedonia) from those in the south (i.e. no genetic barrier between N. and S. MK) (see figure 18.7 in the above-mentioned textbook). I guess Greek speakers from Greek MK would have to sweat this one.

I would also want to say that the question whether people from the Pirin region were included in the Bulgarian sample (I am referring to the blood type study mentioned by Tinko) is largely irrelevant. If you have any knowledge of math you will know that the only way inclusion of those people (<3% of BG population (here I am referring only to the Pirin population)) in the Bulgarian sample could compensate for genetic differences between BG and MK, is if that population (Pirin MK) is completely different from the general population in both BG and MK (what do you think?). The same is the case concerning other ethnic minorities in the sample (especially since BG Turks are genetically almost identical to BG Bulgarians plus Albanians were probalbly not included because (I am guessing here) the study was done during WWII when predominantly Albanian regions of MK were administratively part of Greater Albania not BG).

Now about my personal opinions. I think genetic studies say nothing about the ethnic identities of people. Afterall, enichars (sp.?) did not have the ethnic (cultural, religious) identity of their parents (to give but one example). Genetics do tell a lot about the histories of human populations however (genes are silent witnesses to history). If the blood type study presented by Tinko is correct (and I am in no position to vouch for the scientific integrity of the authors) there is no doubt whatsoever that in the not so distant past MK and BG existed as a single people. As for today it is obviously not so (I am talking about MK in RM). I don't know much about physical anthropology to have any opinion about the other study (besides anthropometric measurements are not completely heritable).

Enjoy, Ivaylo.