Evidence for convergent evolution of A and B blood group antigens in primates

Colm O'hUigin, Akie Sato, Jan Klein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


To determine whether convergent of trans-specific evolution is responsible for the persistence of the ABO polymorphism in apes, we have sequenced segments of introns 5 and 6 of the ABO gene. Four substitutions and one insertion or deletion group human A, B, and O alleles together, separate from their chimpanzee A and gorilla B counterparts. No shared substitutions support a trans-species mode of evolution for any of the alleles examined. We conclude that the A and B antigens of the chimpanzee and gorilla, respectively, have arisen by convergent evolution. Phylogenetic analysis suggests that the human A and B alleles are ancient, having diverged at least 3 million years ago. These alleles must have therefore been trans-specifically inherited within the genus Homo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-148
Number of pages8
JournalHuman genetics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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