ABO group B is associated with personality traits through linkage disequilibrium with low activity dopamine beta hydroxylase

Donna Kay Hobgood



ABO blood groups have been studied for associations with personality traits with no scientific consensus of positive findings.  Because of previously known variations in population frequency distributions of ABO blood groups and newly discovered single nucleotide polymorphisms in ABO gene in the human genome project, associations of personality traits and health risks with ABO blood groups continue to be delineated with increasing specificity.  One of the catecholamine enzymes, DBH, dopamine beta hydroxylase, is in tight linkage disequilibrium with the ABO locus.  Because personality traits as well as illnesses have been linked to the catecholamine genes, the DBH/ABO linkage may contribute to stratification of ABO blood groups in personality traits as well as in illnesses.

Hapmap population frequcncy distributions are similar for ABO blood group B and for low activity of the major allelic marker contributing to variation in DBH activity, rs1611115.  And linkage disequilibrium within the ABO locus is consistent with this.  Further, review of the publically available genomes of two individuals, Craig Venter and James Watson, and their biographical information is also supportive of this association.  Both Venter and Watson appear to have both non-B ABO blood group and high activity DBH and to have dopamine genotypes consistent with Persistence personality trait research as well as to evidence this trait in publically available biographical information.  This hypothesis can be verified by comparing genotypes of ABO and DBH and personality traits in large populations.

The Cloninger trait of Persistence has been associated with dopamine neurotransmission and is likely related to the ABO/DBH linkage via the role of DBH in determining the dopamine:norepinephrine ratio.  Low DBH is known to be associated with trait Impulsiveness so it would appear that impulsiveness may be related to a higher dopamine to norepinephrine ratio, and based on research demonstrating the role of dopamine neurotransmission in the expression of motivation as well as trait Persistence, the likely situation is that lower tonic dopaminergic transmission produces Persistent action and higher tonic dopaminergic transmission produces Impulsive action. 

  If large population genetic studies confirm this hypothesis, given the widespread availability of data on ABO blood groups in virtually every population, new light could be shed on the biochemical underpinnings of human behavior both at the level of the individual and at the level of societies and cultures.






personality; genetics; illness; ABO blood groups, neurotransmitters


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