Studies on Kuru

V. A Blood Group Genetical Survey of the Kuru Region and Other Parts of Papua-New Guinea

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  • Commonwealth Serum Laboratories, Public Health Department, National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Blindness, National Institutes of Health, Melbourne, Australia
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A blood group genetical survey has been carried out in the kuru region of the Eastern Highlands and other parts of Papua-New Guinea. A total of 2,853 blood specimens has been tested and gene frequencies are presented for the ABO, MNSs and Rh blood groups. Results are also presented for the blood groups P, Lea, Fya, K, Lua, Wra, Jka, Dia, Jsa, and V. A few S.C.T. and P.T.C. tests were also made. The extensive blood group genetic data for natives of New Guinea (Papua, New Guinea and Netherlands New Guinea) have been tabulated, and comparisons made of frequencies found in various linguistic groups in different parts of New Guinea.

It is considered that the apparent phenotypic heterogeneity of the natives of New Guinea is largely the result of differentiation developing from a small, reasonably homogeneous population which spread gradually to many relatively isolated regions, and that over the centuries diverse types have evolved which show variations both in physical characteristics and in blood group gene frequencies.

No evidence of the blood antigen Dia, a possible Mongoloid marker, was found in New Guinea. No evidence of the blood antigens Jsa and V, or S.C.T., possible Negro markers, was found. The absence of subgroup A2 (except in one family) and the low frequency of the gene Ro do not offer any support for earlier suggestions that a Negro component is present in New Guinea natives.