ABO Blood Group Essay

1630 Words 7 Pages
Prior to WWII many anthropologists maintained that race was a biological phenomenon best ascertained through the use of anthropometric measurements. After the war, however, a growing number of anthropologists along with geneticists and serologists began to rethink the race concept and its attendant methodologies. Prompted by political and social events as well as empirical shifts brought on by the modern synthesis, these scientists sought more "objective" and "scientifically valid" methods for the study of race. The ABO blood groups emerged in the mid-century as an exciting new avenue for racial research. Discovered in 1901 by Austrian biochemist Karl Landsteiner, the ABO groups are a classificatory system of blood based on the expression of antigenic molecules on the surface of red blood cells. Proponents of blood group studies touted their superiority over phenotypic traits because their inheritance was unknown and they were not by environmental changes.
Blood group genetics began in the 1920s, when immunologists Ludwig and
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The willingness of physical anthropologists to confront the empirical challenges posed by racial studies was particularly influential to new thinking about race. Not only were physical anthropologists splintered on what constituted race, they also debated the number of races and how to delineate them. Secondly, the discovery of Nazi atrocities and the burgeoning Civil Rights movement prompted many physical anthropologists to rethink the race concept as they sought to distance their field from the scientific racism of the first last century. And finally, the emergence of the modern synthesis changed the way that many geneticists thought about race. The shift towards populations as the basis for analysis, many argued, was no longer compatible with the essentialist notions underpinning

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